The Supreme Court will probably decide the fate of President Obama's health care reform law in the next 48 hours, but the rest of the country won't know for months. That's because the justices will spend months crafting their written opinions, the Washington Post explains. Once oral arguments wrap up, the justices will vote, and the most senior vote on each side will hand out the task of writing the opinion.
After that will come months of writing and circulating opinions, with justices sometimes requesting changes, asking to be added to an opinion, or deciding to write their own, concurring opinions. Every so often—say, once a term—a justice may even be convinced to change their vote. "It wouldn't be unprecedented, on a case like this, for two justices to have a sort of walk in the woods," says a former clerk to Anthony Kennedy. "If anyone can do that, I think Elena [Kagan] can."