Justices have already voted on health care case, but decision won't be revealed until June

March 30, 2012 4:27:45 PM PDT
The Supreme Court has likely made its decision about President Barack Obama's health care mandate. But don't expect to find out what it is for months.

Court watchers say the justices met Friday for their vote on the case.

This is all shrouded in a lot of tradition. But about 48 hours after oral arguments with legal points still fresh in their mind, Supreme Court Justices typically get together in their conference room around a rectangular table and take their first vote.

Court watchers suspect Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan voted to keep the individual mandate requiring us all to have health insurance in January 2014. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito will vote to repeal the mandate. That leaves Justice Anthony Kennedy in the middle. He asked tough questions of the government in arguments on Tuesday, but is still a wild card.

A few years back C-SPAN talked to him about this initial vote.

"If the case is close, 5-4, and let's say you're on the side that prevailed, the majority, there's not a lot of high-fives and back slaps; there's a moment of quiet, a moment of respect, maybe even sometimes awe at the process," said Justice Kennedy.

After Friday's vote, law clerks who are sworn to secrecy will start writing the history making opinion.

There is a chance there will be lobbying and some votes may change, but it's unlikely.

We will find out their decision in late June.


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