The long wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission may soon be over. At the end of oral arguments Wednesday morning, the marshal of the Court announced the justices would return to the bench at 10 a.m. today — a rare if not unprecedented Thursday session for the Court. Unless the Court really wants to pull a switcheroo on an anxious nation, the session will almost certainly be the platform for announcing the Citizens United decision on campaign finance regulation, which was argued in a special session Sept. 9 and appears to be the only pending case that would warrant such special arrangements.
Now that a Thursday session is planned, it’s fair to ask: why not wait until Monday, when the Court was already scheduled to sit? It will be the third Monday of its argument cycle, when it will not be hearing arguments. One answer may point to possible multiple readings from the bench today. On third Mondays, when no arguments are scheduled, justices sometimes do not show up, having already packed their bags and headed off for travel during the period before the next session. If one or more of those justices had planned to read a dissent from the bench, they might have lobbied for a special sitting today before they left town. Justice John Paul Stevens, for example, may have already made plans to head to his Florida condo where he often spends his off-bench days. So Stevens may have a dissent to read — or, perhaps, a majority opinion.
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