Monday, July 3, 2017

Stephen L. Carter ― The Supreme Court Is the Last Leakproof Institution

The last day of the term was full of news, as always, but none of it slipped out ahead of time.

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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