U.S. Supreme Court

Which Justices Dominated Oral Arguments on Insurance Mandate? Blog Tallies the Lines


Conservative justices dominated the first half of oral arguments Tuesday on the health care law’s insurance mandate, accounting for 75 percent of the debate, while liberals dominated the second half, doing 85 percent of the talking, according to a blog analysis of lines in the transcript.

And two justices spoke more than the others, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports. Overall, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who spoke 226 lines, gets the “Big Talker Award,” the blog says. In second place is Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., speaking 197 lines. Justice Clarence Thomas stayed silent, as usual.

The Law Blog counted swing voter Justice Anthony M. Kennedy as a conservative. He barely spoke in the second half of the arguments. But he did observe toward the end that uninsured young people “uniquely” affect costs in medical care “in a way that is not true in other industries.”

“Does Justice Kennedy stand closer to that view, or to the view he expressed in his more loquacious first half?” the blog wonders.

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