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One of the more fascinating (and frustrating) aspects of following the Supreme Court is trying to read the hints and feints that the justices sometimes drop into their opinions. It’s just like discovering a scrambled message in “The Da Vinci Code” or another unexpected coincidence on “Lost.” We scratch our heads wondering whether the writer is tempting us with a taste of something to come — or not even thinking along the same conspiratorial lines.

In the abortion decision that the Court released April 18, Justice Clarence Thomas has left, peeking out like a half-hidden Easter egg, one of the more intriguing puzzles in a Supreme Court opinion. Read one way, Thomas’ concurrence in Gonzales v. Carhart, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, might well be a bread crumb in a trail pointing toward an eventual striking down of the law prohibiting “partial-birth” abortions. Carhart, of course, has just upheld that law.

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