KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Justices Hold First Vote Today On Health Law’s Fate

If past practice holds, the Supreme Court will meet privately today to cast a preliminary vote. No one else will be present, and drafts of opinions are likely to be written and rewritten many times in the next few months before the actual decision is issued, likely sometime in June.

The Washington Post: The Supreme Court Will Decide On The Health-Care Law Soon. It Will Tell You Later.
If the usual process occurs, the justices of the Supreme Court will gather around a large rectangular table Friday morning and, one by one, cast their votes on the constitutionality of President Obama's health-care law. They will let the rest of us know the outcome in due time (Barnes, 3/29).

The Associated Press: Justices Meet Friday To Vote On Health Care Case
While the rest of us have to wait until June, the justices of the Supreme Court will know the likely outcome of the historic health care case by the time they go home this weekend. After months of anticipation, thousands of pages of briefs and more than six hours of arguments, the justices will vote on the fate of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in under an hour Friday morning. They will meet in a wood-paneled conference room on the court's main floor. No one else will be present (Sherman, 3/29).

USA Today: Supreme Court Likely To Vote On Health Care Law Friday
That initial decision may be altered as drafts of majority and dissenting opinions are written, circulated and rewritten, often many times. It might even be reversed during the lengthy writing process if one or more justices switch sides (Wolf, 3/29). 

Meanwhile, news outlets analyze how various arguments may or may not have appealed to justices and what their opinions might be and how this case could be a defining moment for their legacies.

The New York Times: In Health Case, Appeals To A Justice's Idea Of Liberty
The way to frame a Supreme Court argument meant to persuade Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is to talk about liberty. It is his touchstone and guiding principle, and his conception of liberty is likely to determine the future of President Obama's health care law (Liptak, 3/20).

McClatchy: Can You Predict An Outcome From Supreme Court Justices' Questions?
Supreme Court justices can hide their intentions in plain sight, even with something as complicated as health care. The judicial utterances during this week's lengthy oral arguments left a common impression that the conservative-led court might strike down some or all of the 2010 health care law. Unfortunately for the White House, these kinds of impressions can be valid clues (Doyle, 3/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Case Puts Roberts In Crucible
If there was any doubt beforehand, three momentous days of argument this week established that the health-care ruling is sure to be a defining moment for the Supreme Court—and a crucible for Chief Justice John Roberts (Bravin, 3/29). 

Reuters: Analysis: Chief Justice Roberts May Cast Deciding Healthcare Vote
If their usual practice holds, the justices will convene privately on Friday in a small oak-paneled conference room adjoining the chief's chambers to take a preliminary vote. With no law clerks or secretaries present, Roberts will open the discussion and cast the first vote. The justices will go around the table in order of seniority, voting and laying out their rationales. A decision in the dispute is not likely until late June. On the most crucial question - whether the individual insurance requirement is valid - it appeared that Roberts, a conservative appointed to the court by former President George W. Bush, could easily cast the deciding vote (Biskupic, 3/29).

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