Which Justice read their handdown in NFIB v. Sebelius from the bench the fastest?
In last place was Justice Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg’s handdown of her ACA dissent was roughly 2,300 words. It took her 20 minutes and 2 seconds to read. That is about 115 words per minute.
In second place was Justice Kennedy. Justice Kennedy’s handdown of his dissent was roughly 1,700 words and took him only 10 minutes and 24 seconds to read it. That is about 163 words per minute.
The grand prize winner is Chief Justice Roberts! Chief Justice Roberts’s handdown of the ACA opinion was roughly 3,400 words long. It took him 20 minutes and 25 seconds to read. That is about 167 words per minute.
In case you were wondering, the Chief and Justice Kennedy read more than 50% faster than Justice Ginsburg.
Why, you may ask did I run these numbers? I have now gone through, and time-stamped all of the audio of the handdowns, to mash them up with stuff going on outside the Court (the timing is really interesting). When comparing the Chief’s handdown and Justice Ginsburg’s handdown, I was shocked at how few words she said in about the same period of time as the Chief!