Thomas, Breyer discuss High Court docket, clerks, cameras

The Blog of Legal Times

If you’re mystified about why the Supreme Court hears so few cases these days — 75 or so annually, compared to twice that number 25 years ago — Justice Stephen Breyer says, check back a few years from now. The deficit will be over, he predicted this morning, because of litigation over the just-passed health care bill.

Breyer and Justice Clarence Thomas were asked about the Court’s shrunken docket at the Court’s annual budget hearing before the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on financial services and general government…

…The words of the laws need to be interpreted, producing litigation that eventually gets to the Supreme Court. When those cases are resolved, the docket dips.

“You have passed a 2,400-page bill,” Breyer told the committee members, and he guessed that in such a lengthy bill, “there are a lot of words in it.” As a result, he said, “in two or three of four years,” nobody will be asking justices about the shortage of cases, because litigation stemming from the bill will be filling the Court’s docket.

Breyer’s prediction was just one nugget from the always-interesting annual meeting between the legislative and judicial branches. The Court’s $78 million budget was the topic of the hearing, but members of Congress always use it as a vehicle for getting into favorite subjects—most notably, diversity in law clerk hiring, and camera access to the high court. The hearing was broadcast live on…

The article continues at LegalTimes.

H/T Althouse

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