Mauro and Coyle on Collegiality Among the Justices after NFIB v. Sebelius

Tony Mauro and Marcia Coyle have have an interesting story that includes comments from unnamed Justices about how the Justices might get along after NFIB v. Sebelius. The basic picture: “Members of the U.S. Supreme Court predict that any rifts among justices in the wake of the landmark health care decision are likely to heal quickly and that collegiality will return when the Court reconvenes for its next term.” As far as I can tell, the only comments from the Justices that are from recent weeks are the following:

“Everyone here does have the sense the institution is so much more important than the nine who are here at any point in time and we should not do anything to leave it in worse shape than it was in when we came on board,” said one justice, speaking on condition of anonymity to The National Law Journal as the Court term was ending. The end of the 2011-12 term was “certainly hard,” this justice said, but added, “My guess is we’ll come back in the fall and have the opening conference and it will be almost the same. I would be very surprised if it’s otherwise.”

Speaking generally, another justice said, “The term always starts friendly and relaxed, and gets tense at the end when the most difficult cases pile up. It’s still collegial, but there is an overlay of frustration.”

It’s hard to know what to make of these comments in part because their timing is unclear. The story says that the comments were made “as the Court term was ending,” but that may mean before Sebelius was handed down and therefore before the leaks to Jan Crawford.

Who are Justices that are quoted in the story? The story has at least one of the Justices comparing today’s rift to their rift after Bush v. Gore. Only five Justices on Court today that were on the Court then, so that narrows it down to Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Breyer. Scalia isn’t exactly known for his chummy relationship with Tony Mauro, so he seems like an unlikely source (although he could have spoken with Coyle). If the dissenters in Sebelius are as mad about the case as some have suggested, they would be less likely to have offered such conciliatory words, which would suggest Ginsburg and/or Breyer. But who knows.

Thanks to How Appealing for the link.