Anticipation Grows for Health Care, Immigration Verdicts in High Court

BY Katelyn Polantz  June 19, 2012 at 7:38 AM EST


Photo of Supreme Court by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images.

Monday morning came and went, and again the Supreme Court issued no decisions on the two cases that will define this year’s term: immigration in Arizona and national health care reform.

Some of the justices acknowledged the heightened level of anticipation as the court enters its final two weeks.

Justice Elena Kagan told the packed courtroom Monday morning — just before reading one of the day’s four opinions: “This case is about sovereign immunity and prudential standing. Maybe not what you all came for today.”

The decisions announced Monday, though not headline-grabbing, were notable in their own ways, said Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal.

One ruling that will deliver millions of federal dollars to Native American tribes was a split 5-4 — not unheard of in the current court — but it had the unusual mix of Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissenting, Coyle said.

Previously this term, more than 50 percent of decisions have been unanimous or not as closely split, she said.

Ginsburg forecast the ruling in a speech at a legal conference in Washington on Friday: “As one may expect, many of the most controversial cases remain pending. So it is likely that the sharp disagreement rate will go up next week and the week after.”

C-SPAN has her full speech:

Ginsburg summed up this term as “unusual.” Others already are calling it a blockbuster.

View all of our Supreme Court coverage.