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No plumbers needed at the Supreme Court

The eyes of the nation seem to be on the U.S. Supreme Court as the anticipation over the upcoming decision in the health care challenge reaches a fever pitch.

But something is strange to people who don’t follow the Supreme Court on a regular basis: although the justices and those who work for them know – and have likely known for months – how the Court has ruled in the matter, no one has said a peep.  No need for a plumber – the Supremes don’t leak.

“Everybody, from the ordinary citizen to reporters who are not used to covering the Court, are getting and education about how the Court works,” said veteran Supreme Court litigator Paul Clement yesterday at a media briefing hosted by the National Chamber Litigation Center in Washington.

Given the potential impact of the case on this year’s election, Clement said, “in addition to the Supreme Court press corps, you also have more political reporters who are covering this case. And the thing that I’ve found most amusing is their complete inability to believe that there will not be leaks. They are just so used to covering the other two branches of government that they just assume that leaks are absolutely inevitable and that there is no way in the world you could have a decision this monumental, and have that many people know about it, and have at least presumably half of the people have some beef about what is about to happen, and nobody’s talking about it.”

But at a time when the Court’s popularity numbers are falling, the fact that the Court is setting itself apart in this way is a good thing, Clement concluded.

“I think this is a good thing for the Court,” Clement said. “[M]aybe in the long run … people will have an appreciation that this really is a different branch of government.”

For more Supreme Court news, including a breakdown of all this week’s decisions, see our Supreme Court Report.

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