“Those who know don’t talk. And those who talk don’t know,” she quipped Friday night at a conference hosted by the American Constitution Society at the Capital Hilton.
Ginsburg said she was responding to a “steady stream of rumors and fifth-hand accounts” about the court’s deliberations on the law.
Careful not to tip her hand on the court’s ruling — expected in the next two weeks — Ginsburg described the oral arguments in the case as unprecedented for the number of “press conferences, prayer circles, protests and counterprotests” that occurred on the courthouse steps.
Although she offered no insight into the tightly held decisions of her colleagues, Ginsburg did indicate that many of the court’s decisions over the next two weeks — which are also expected to include an FCC indecency ruling — might be close.
The 21 remaining decisions, she said, were “many of the most controversial cases” that the court reviewed this term.
“It is likely that the sharp disagreement rate will go up next week and the week after,” she said.
Oh, isn’t she witty:
Ginsburg noted that one ACA-related question the court must decide is whether the whole law must fall if the individual mandate is unconstitutional — “or may the mandate be chopped, like a head of broccoli, from the rest of it?”
Update: Bill Mears has the full “unprecedented” quote:
“No contest since the court invited new briefs and arguments in ‘Citizens United’ (a 2009-10 campaign finance spending case) has attracted more attention — in the press, the academy,” she said. “Some have described the controversy as unprecedented and they may be right if they mean the number of press conferences, prayer circles, protests, counter protests, going on outside the court while oral argument was under way inside.”
She then explained– with a dollop of humor– the four issues the court was considering, including the main focus: the constitutionality of the individual mandate, which would require nearly all Americans to buy health insurance starting in 2014 or face a financial penalty.
“If the individual mandate, requiring the purchase of insurance or the payment of a penalty, if that is unconstitutional, must the entire act fall?” she said, then outlining another key question. “Or, may the mandate be chopped, like a head of broccoli, from the rest of the act?”