Timing Controversial Decisions

 In Ideas

Suppose that members of a state court are prepared to announce a highly controversial ruling. The court might be prepared to rule that a state must allow same-sex marriage, that a state may not continue affirmative action programs, or that a popular environmental statute is unconstitutional. Suppose too that the opinion is complete and ready to be made public. Suppose finally that an election will be held in a short time, and that the court is aware that the ruling will have at least some degree of relevance to voters. In the most extreme cases, members of the court believe that the ruling will become a highly salient issue in the campaign and that many voters might be affected by the decision. Should the court refuse to issue the opinion until after the election?

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