Associations release crafted statements. Professors can sometimes be difficult to reach. And U.S. Supreme Court justices certainly don't give interviews about their decisions on the spot.
But lawyers stand ready to talk, pontificate, dissect and opine on whatever the Supreme Court decides in King v. Burwell later this month, almost immediately following a decision.
Public relations representatives have already sent scores of e-mails to journalists offering attorneys and consultants as sources to comment on the upcoming ruling, which will focus on whether insurance premium subsidies should be available to Americans in states without their own exchanges. They stand ready to offer their views to reporters—no matter which way the court's opinion turns.
It's good publicity for lawyers to be quoted as experts in news stories, and it's convenient for journalists who will race against one another to provide meaning and context in their stories. Journalists use their judgment to decide which lawyers to interview, often based on how involved the lawyer has been in the case and/or the attorney's background (i.e., if they've worked closely in the past with those involved in the case or the issues presented in the case).
About a half-dozen public relations representatives have already contacted this Modern Healthcare reporter offering lawyers and consultants as sources.
But that's just the beginning.
Undoubtedly, the e-mails will continue to steadily drip into reporters' inboxes until decision day, at which point a downpour will ensue. A decision in King v. Burwell is expected during the last two weeks of June, but could come down as soon as Thursday.
In the few hours following oral arguments in King v. Burwell in March, this reporter got about a dozen statements and offers to talk to various experts.
Among the subject lines in my e-mail inbox that day:
“Supreme Court ruling on Affordable Care Act tax subsidies could affect millions, Baker Institute expert says.”
“Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow on King v. Burwell Oral Arguments.”
“King Arguments Showcase Politics at Play.”
Others have also noticed.
Jonathan Cohn, a writer for the Huffington Post, wrote on Twitter Monday morning, “Hypothesis: Volume of PR e-mails from legal experts ready to explain ACA ruling with be inversely proportional to days left in SCOTUS term.”