The biggest surprise Thursday morning at the Supreme Court will be if the justices do not issue their most-anticipated decision of the year — on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act; the health care overhaul enacted in 2010.
As we reported Monday, the court has said its last day of the current term is Thursday. And that's led to the logical conclusion that the health care decision will be released shortly after 10 a.m. ET, when the justices come to the bench. It's highly unlikely, court watchers say, that the justices have decided to give themselves another day before going on recess or have opted to delay a decision even longer.
We will pass along the news as soon as possible. NPR's health, legal and Washington teams will all be on the story and feeding NPR.org, the Newcast Desk and Morning Edition — which will still be on the air across much of the nation.
Of course, there will be many other valuable sources for information. We, as will much of the rest of the news media, will be pinging the court's website to read the decision.
We'll also be closely watching SCOTUSBlog's live blogging. As The Washington Post's Wonk Blog writes, SCOTUSBlog's Lyle Denniston says he aims to "be first and beat everybody" and about 250,000 readers are expected to follow along as he works the story.
This afternoon, by the way, Denniston posted "a reader's guide" the health care ruling.
Side note: SCOTUSBlog co-founder Tom Goldstein just posted his prediction about what the justices will say. He's going against the conventional wisdom. Goldstein thinks Chief Justice John Roberts will write an opinion for the majority that upholds the individual mandate requiring most Americans who aren't otherwise insured to buy health coverage. And he thinks the court will reject "the challenge to the Medicaid expansion." In other words, he's predicting a win for the Obama administration.
Soon after the decision is out, our friends on the Shots blog will be analyzing what it means for health care. Over at It's All Politics, the team will be figuring out what the decision t means for the 2012 campaign. It's All Politics has a fresh post this afternoon headlined "Read The Tea Leaves, But Justices (And Their Clerks) Aren't Telling."
NPR's Ari Shapiro, Carrie Johnson and Nina Totenberg will be on the Newcast, Morning Edition and All Things Considered later in the day. At 7 p.m. ET, NPR will be broadcasting and streaming special coverage of the decision and what it means. Click here to find an NPR member station.
Finally, if you need to do some catching up on the health care debate or just want a refresher, you might consult:
— NPR.org's special series "Judging The Health Care Law."
— SCOTUSBlog's "Affordable Care Act In Depth."