In a rare press conference today, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts disclosed why the Court has taken so long to issue its opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas, the affirmative-action case argued last October.
“I want to put to rest all of the nutty conspiracy theories that have circulated around the Fisher case,” Roberts told reporters. “Any speculation that the Court is struggling with drafting the opinion, or opinions, is pure nonsense.”
“The truth behind the delay is far more mundane,” Roberts said. “As you may have guessed, we’re still waiting for the go-ahead from Madame Zena, the official Court Astrologer.”
Roberts told reporters that in the Court’s most recent seance, held earlier this month, Zena advised the justices that with Venus rising in the East, the moon remaining in the seventh house, and Capricorn and Pisces at a semisquare angle, the stars and planets would not allow the Court to announce and distribute its decision in the Fisher case.
“She told us that she perceived dark times ahead for any affirmative-action opinion issued while the skies were so aligned,” Roberts said. “And that was that, so far as we were concerned.”
At the same seance, Zena did give the Court the go-ahead to announce opinions dealing with criminal procedure and antitrust issues. “Madame Zena told us that the horoscope looked favorable for decisions on the right to remain silent, price-fixing conspiracies, and sentencing issues,” Roberts recounted. “So we rushed Salinas, Activis, and Alleyne out the door.”
Roberts acknowledged that the Court’s longtime insistence on following Madame Zena’s predictions sometimes requires sacrifices. “We didn’t really say precisely what we wanted to in any of those cases [referring to Salinas, Activis, and Alleyne],” Roberts said. “I think we reversed one lower court we meant to affirm, and vice-versa. And if you’re wondering about all the typos in Salinas, well, now you have your answer. But Madame Zena said that in a couple of days, Neptune would withdraw behind Saturn, so of course we had to act fast.”
The press conference was short but cordial, with Chief Justice Roberts growing testy only when a reporter referred to the Court Astrologer simply as “Zena.” Roberts flushed and said, “That’s MADAME Zena,” staring angrily at the chastened reporter.
Madame Zena has served as the Court Astrologer since OT 2004, when she replaced Count Zoldar. Aside from ruing that her talents are both a blessing and a curse, she declined to comment for this report.
When asked when the public might expect the Court’s opinion in Fisher, Roberts shrugged his shoulders and gestured upward to the heavens. “Don’t ask me, ask them,” he said.