Stephen L. Carter is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is a professor of law at Yale University.
BloombergView --- With another term of the U.S. Supreme Court behind us, full of decisions both predictable and surprising, perhaps we should take a moment to consider a question very much of the moment: Why doesn’t the court leak? The rest of Washington has reached the point where confidentiality is a joke. So why not the Supreme Court too?
I’m not saying that no secrets ever trickle down from our sacred legal mountain. Back in 2012, CBS News ran a story that Chief Justice John Roberts had changed his vote in the decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. Court-watchers were suitably shocked. Experts speculated on who the leaker might have been
Yet in and of itself, the leak wasn’t interesting. Justices change their votes all the time; in a deliberative, reflective body, one would even hope that this is true. Although disclosing the internal processes three days after a decision is handed down was treated justifiably as a big scoop, what’s proved harder for reporters is to discover the outcome of a pending case. 1 What made the Roberts story news was not its content but the fact that the court seems all but leak-proof.
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