Speed-reading will be a valued skill for Supreme Court-watchers today. The justices, racing toward the finish line of the current term, handed down seven separate decisions this morning spanning 286 pages of written text, by our count. The main upside of this avalanche of paper is that the Court confirmed that it will finish its work for the term next Monday, with four cases left to decide. Unless the Court throws up its hands and orders a re-argument next term, that means the long-awaited Bilski v. Kappos patent ruling will be issued Monday.

Tops among the seven announced today are the three “honest services” fraud casesSkilling v. United States (pdf), Black v. United States (pdf) and Weyhrauch v. United States (pdf) — that resulted in a significant narrowing of the law to reach only bribery and kickback schemes. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote all three, with Skilling as the lead decision. In that case, the Court also rejected former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling’s claim that a presumption of juror prejudice should have disqualified Houston, where many victims of the Enron collapse live, as a location for the trial.

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