(REUTERS) — During a break from the crush of last-minute opinion-writing, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience of 1,000 people this month at a Washington legal convention: “It is flood season at the court.”
For the rest of the country it had been more like a drought, a stretch of weeks without any word in the most closely watched cases – the blockbuster challenges to President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan and Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
The immigration ruling on Monday came precisely two months after the case was heard by the high court on April 25, the last day of oral arguments.
The healthcare case was heard over the course of three days a month before that. It seems the justices are going for maximum drama as they push these cliffhangers to the end of June. What’s more likely, as seasoned court-watchers know, is that justices are still ironing out the final details of resolutions to the most complex questions they have faced in decades.
Of the more than 60 signed rulings that have been handed down in the cases heard during arguments in the October-to-April term, many were reached by a unanimous or nearly unanimous vote. In the final days, Ginsburg told the group, “the sharp disagreement rate will go up.” She was speaking about what generally happens at the court – although it might have seemed she was letting slip a clue about the current deliberations.