If the leaking clerk isn't caught, the entire class would have that stigma, leading to strong peer pressure to stay silent, he said.
"So what's in it for a clerk to leak?" Miller said.
The court's mystique and reputation for silence means there have been no special warnings from the justices for employees not to spill the beans on the health care decision. It's not that the health care decision isn't important. It's that clerks, secretaries, aides, janitors, and all of the other staff know they are not supposed to talk about anything the court does until the official announcement.
That doesn't mean that the court's always been perfect at withholding information until its formal release. For example, the court inadvertently posted opinions and orders on its website about a half hour too soon in December.
The last apparent leak occurred more than 30 years ago when Tim O'Brien, then a reporter for ABC News, informed viewers that the court planned to issue a particular opinion the following day. Chief Justice Warren Burger accused an employee in the printing shop of tipping O'Brien and had the employee transferred to a different job.
Miller noted that all the lampposts at the entrances and exits of the Supreme Court building are supported by turtle sculptures, which can also be found elsewhere in the building. It's an apt symbol for the court.
"They like information to move slowly and deliberately," Miller said.
Supreme Court: http://www.supremecourt.gov/docket/PPAACA.aspx
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.