If You Really Wanted to Read the Tea Leaves from Justice Ginsburg’s Speech at the ACS….

This post is nothing but sheer speculation without any support whatsoever. I’m sure I’m wrong about this, and you shouldn’t take this post at all seriously. Really, it’s just silliness that you should ignore. With those caveats, I was intrigued by Justice Ginsburg’s light and amusing tone during her commentary about the Affordable Care Act litigation at last week’s American Constitution Society convention. Justice Ginsburg often gives public speeches and comments to the press about the current Term, and more than any other Justice she is willing to give a few subtle hints about how the Court’s major undecided cases might be coming out. The thinking — perhaps foolish — is that her tone in these speeches acts as a modest but not-entirely-useless barometer of how her side is doing.

If you watch Justice Ginsburg speaking about the Affordable Care Act case starting at the 27:40 mark of the video, she seems to be having fun talking about the case. She says that the case is indeed “unprecedented,” at least if you mean unprecedented in “the number of press conference, prayer circles, protests, and counter-protests” held during the oral argument. She describes one of the questions as being whether the individual mandate should be “chopped like a head of broccoli” from federal law. She pokes fun at the obscurity of the anti-injunction act issue. She jokes about the rumors concerning when the case will be handed down. Maybe Justice Ginsburg was just in a good mood. Maybe there were just some obvious jokes to make on the mandate case relative to some of the criminal cases she covered. Yes, I’m sure that’s it. Any other conclusion would be silly speculation. But given all the interest in how the individual mandate case might come out, I wonder if some are speculating that Ginsburg’s tone reflects some satisfaction with how the case came out.

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