Thursday, June 28, 2012
Waiting for a judicial announcement
When was the last time that the entire country was waiting for a particular judicial decision that we all knew was coming on a specific day and at a specific time? If you think about the other universally anticipated SCOTUS decisions of recent years, we did not have such prior notice of when the decision would be coming down.
Strangely enough, I keep coming back to the O.J. Simpson verdict. If you remember, the report came out that there was a verdict in the afternoon (I think it was a Tuesday) and Judge Ito announced that the verdict would be announced the following morning. So everyone knew exactly when to tune in and exactly what was coming.
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People pretty much knew Bush v. Gore would come down the night it did, though it wasn't guaranteed. I think Lawrence and Casey were decided on the last days of their respective terms. I was a summer associate the year Casey was decided, and I remember sitting with a bunch of other lawyers and summer associates rifling through the slip opinion that a messenger had picked up from the Court (pre-internet) trying to figure out what the Court held.
Posted by: Sam Bagenstos | Jun 28, 2012 9:07:29 AM
But were those watched by non-lawyers to the same extent? That's what strikes me as so different about this.
Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Jun 28, 2012 9:57:07 AM
many years ago, of course, but I remember anxiously waiting for the decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in June 1992 and being pleasantly surprised by the decision
Posted by: Chris Edelson | Jun 28, 2012 10:15:23 AM
In June 1992, I was a college student, so at least one non-lawyer was watching for Casey! There was the same election year context which added intrigue to the decision. My guess is that more people were waiting for today's decision, but some of that may have to do with changes in media that have brought saturated coverage plus easier ways to instantly access the result
Posted by: Chris Edelson | Jun 28, 2012 10:19:45 AM
At 57 minutes past the hour on Law & Order?
Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Jun 28, 2012 10:30:39 AM
Like Sam, I was in law school when Casey was decided, working at the legislative office of the ACLU right across from the Supreme Court. We all knew when it would be decided. The evening before, a bunch of us went for drinks after work and all or most were convinced that Roe would be overruled the next day.
Posted by: Michael J.Z. Mannheimer | Jul 5, 2012 4:32:53 PM