The Latest From The Supreme Court

Today, the Supreme Court took no action on health care and made no reference to the Affordable Care Act.  The tea leaves left for us, however, are considerable.

The Court announced that it would sit again to deliver opinions on Thursday, a day heretofore not listed as a day of decisions.  Monday, today, had been its last scheduled day for decisions.

The most important “tea leaf” to watch come from today’s opinion on the immigration law case of Arizona vs. United States. Here’s the thinking.

The opinion was authored by Justice Kennedy.  Kennedy is considered the only swing vote on health care, though in truth he has often been a relatively conservative judge.  On this court, he is comparatively center-right.  That he authored one of the most important decisions left in the Court’s term has led many to believe that Chief Justice Roberts will author the final health care opinion.

It’s unlikely that Chief Justice Roberts and the majority would allow Kennedy to author the last two opinions.  They are both time consuming to author and, frankly, high profile.  Roberts will want to have his name on at least one – and today we see that it isn’t the immigration law.

If Roberts had not been chosen to author the health care opinion because he was in the minority, then he would have likely asserted seniority and written the Arizona opinion.  Consequently, given the personality politics of the Court, it is very difficult to see how Roberts does not author the majority opinion on health care.

Bottom line:  The odds only now increase that some or all of the Affordable Care Act will be struck down.