Justice Breyer Expects Many Cases From a Law of 2400 Pages

CNN buries the lede in this article titled, “2 justices discuss next nominee to high court.” Justice Breyer and Thomas do discuss qualities they hope to see in a potential nominee to the high court but the real news is buried at the bottom of the post quoting Justice Breyer in response to a question about the light caseload enjoyed by the Court:

Breyer predicted to House lawmakers the recent, massive health care reform law passed by Congress will someday reach his court.

“Now you, I gather, have passed a law with 2,400 pages,” he told panel members, referring to the health care bill. “If you had passed a law with 2,400 pages it probably has a lot of words. And I would predict as a test of the theory that three or four years today no one is every going to ask us again why we have so few cases.”

Breyer had been asked why the Supreme Court’s caseload had been relatively light in recent years. The 71-year-old justice explained his colleagues usually only accepts cases where lower courts have disagreed over a particular issue, giving the Supreme Court a chance to offer the final word. A Democratic White House and Congress promoting and passing laws may now have a greater chance of being overturned in coming years by federal courts that have a majority of Republican appointees. Six of the nine current justices on the Supreme Court were named by GOP presidents.

In that vein, Breyer offered a humorous “reality check” on court challenges, citing the example used by the renowned French writer Michel de Montaigne in 1584.

“This king, he wrote, was so stupid he thought by writing a lot of laws he was going to reduce the number of lawyers because he’s explained everything,” said Breyer. “Doesn’t the king know every word in a bill is the subject for an argument in court in a decision?

Video available here for those who are interested. I find Breyer’s unprompted comments to be extraordinary and the reference to Michel de Montaigne was the piece de resistance. Any thoughts?