The Chief Justice's gambit

Published: Friday, June 29 2012 4:09 p.m. MDT

A view of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Saving its biggest case for last, the Supreme Court is expected to announce its verdict Thursday on President Barack Obama's health care law. The outcome is likely to be a factor in the presidential campaign and help define John Roberts' legacy as chief justice. But the court's ruling almost certainly will not be the last word on America's tangled efforts to address health care woes.

Evan Vucci, Associated Press

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Our take: Sean Trende provides an interesting analysis that shows how the Supreme Courts ruling on the Affordable Care Act may have far longer lasting implications than just that the health care law was upheld.

In 1803, the chief justice of the United States had a problem. His hated cousin, Thomas Jefferson, had won the last presidential election. But the outgoing Federalists opted not to go gentle into that good night. The one branch of government they controlled was the judiciary, and they meant to keep it. They had passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, which allowed for several new judicial appointments.

President Adams did a remarkable job filling the appointments and getting them hastily confirmed. The so-called Midnight Judges by and large received their commissions. But not all of them did. Incoming President Jefferson then instructed his secretary of state not to deliver the remaining ones.

Read more about The Chief Justice's gambit on www.realclearpolitics.com.

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