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U.S. Supreme Court

Justices Expected to Vote on Health Law Case Today, But Votes Sometimes Change

Posted Mar 30, 2012 8:55 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Illustrating an extraordinary ability to keep its deliberations private, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to vote on the health law case today, but issue opinions much later, likely at the end of the term in late June.

Rarely are the votes disclosed before the official announcement, the Washington Post reports. The story quotes George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, a former clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. “It’s only a small number of people who know, and they just don’t leak,” he said. “I mean, you’re sworn to secrecy.”

Sometimes the votes can change, the story says. Most often the change is a switch from the minority to the majority. According to the Post, the opposite occurred in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. In the early vote, Kennedy sided with conservatives who wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade. Instead he joined an opinion by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to reaffirm Roe.

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