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For the Supreme Court, Silence Can Be Golden

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- In ordinary life, silence can be golden. Sensible and courteous people sometimes hold their tongues, especially on highly divisive questions. As last week’s U.S. Supreme Court arguments over same-sex marriage attest, silence also plays a role in constitutional law.

Consider a little episode from Supreme Court history. In Poe v. Ullman, decided in 1961, the court was asked to strike down a Connecticut law forbidding the use of contraceptives. It declined to do so. But it also refused to rule that the law was constitutional.