Toobin: “Train wreck for the Obama administration” today on individual mandate

posted at 12:45 pm on March 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Call it The Faceplant Heard ‘Round The Nation.  CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who had earlier predicted that the Supreme Court would uphold the individual mandate, called the first half of oral arguments on the issue “a train wreck for the Obama administration,” and openly predicted that the court would overturn at least that part of ObamaCare:

The Supreme Court just wrapped up the second day of oral arguments in the landmark case against President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, and reports from inside the courtroom indicate that the controversial law took quite a beating.

Today’s arguments focused around the central constitutional question of whether Congress has the power to force Americans to either pay for health insurance or pay a penalty.

According to CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, the arguments were “a train wreck for the Obama administration.”

“This law looks like it’s going to be struck down. I’m telling you, all of the predictions including mine that the justices would not have a problem with this law were wrong,” Toobin just said on CNN.

Toobin questioned the preparation of Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verilli, saying he was “not ready” to answer questions on the mandate:

Toobin added that he felt that U.S. Solicitor General David Verrilli simply wasn’t prepared for the conservative justices.

“I don’t know why he had a bad day,” he said. “He is a good lawyer, he was a perfectly fine lawyer in the really sort of tangential argument yesterday. He was not ready for the answers for the conservative justices.”

Toobin also said that Anthony Kennedy looked like a “lost cause” for mandate supporters.  CBS’ Jan Crawford tweeted out Kennedy’s comments during the arguments:

KENNEDY: Health care law “changes the relationship between the individual and the government in a very fundamental way.”

KENNEDY: Can you “create” commerce in order to regulate it? Suggests govt has “heavy burden” in health care case.

Crawford also reported heavy skepticism during oral arguments, noting that a majority appeared “[t]roubled there would be no limits on Congressional power.”

We’ll update this as we get video and more reaction.  At the moment, though, the White House has to be less than pleased.

Update: The Hill also notes Kennedy’s skepticism.  The report also concludes that the four liberal justices seemed ready to support the mandate:

Tom Goldstein, the author of a popular Scotus Supreme Court blog, offered a mid-argument update in which he said there was no fifth vote yet in favor of or against the mandate.

He wrote that the four more liberal justices on the court appeared to be in favor of the mandate, while conservatives were expressing skepticism.

In other words … 5-4, here we come.

Update II: Here’s the video from TPM:

Update III: My column today for The Week looks at the political implications of the possible outcomes of the Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare.  Here are my predictions for two cases, updated moments ago:

3. Overturn the individual mandate alone
Easily the most unpopular part of the bill, the individual mandate, which requires Americans to obtain health insurance, is also the most constitutionally fraught. It’s also the financial linchpin of ObamaCare. Without it, the insurers who gave qualified support for the PPACA would go broke, thanks to additional must-insure mandates and an abolition of bars on pre-existing conditions. Given the already-expressed skepticism from Breyer and Ginsburg about the argument that the mandate is a tax, the real possibility exists that the court may strike this down, and not just on a 5-4 vote. During Tuesday’s argument, swing justice Anthony Kennedy was “enormously skeptical” of the individual mandate, as CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin put it. Indeed, the punditocracy’s instant analysis suggests the mandate is not long for this world. …

4. Overturn the entire bill
Two lower courts split on the question of whether a lack of a severability clause in the PPACA meant that Congress intended the bill to be an all-or-nothing proposition. If the court determines that one or more of the components are unconstitutional — especially the central individual mandate — and that Congress deliberately chose not to include a severability clause, then the court could throw out the entire PPACA.

If the court strikes down the mandate on a 5-4 split and/or throws out the whole bill, mandate advocates could argue that the court took a political rather than legal position. But that won’t convince anyone except the true believers. With a majority of people already opposed to the individual mandate, it would only deepen their impression of ObamaCare as a radical departure, and make it even less likely that Obama could fashion a way to salvage the framework of his reform — even if House Republicans were inclined to help Obama escape from the trap. If one or more of the liberal justices join in declaring the mandate and/or the entire bill unconstitutional, then the PPACA becomes an albatross around Obama’s neck, and also those Democrats in the Senate running for re-election.

Update IV: There’s more consensus on both the direction of the court today and the performance of Verilli, mainly from the Left:

Jamie Dupree, reporter for Cox Radio, tweeted, “One thing was clear, the Solicitor General [Donald B. Verrilli Jr.] (arguing for the Obama Administration) had a bad day in court.” Justice Kennedy asked him the seemingly skeptical question, “Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?”

“Essentially, the Solicitor General’s performance was so abysmal that it fell to the [Democratic] appointees to make his argument for him,” says Adam Serwer, reporter for Mother Jones.

Update V: The Solicitor General’s name is Donald Verilli, not David Verelli.  I’ve fixed it above.


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It seems to me the truly damning part (which Kennedy was trying to get at) was that the SG could not come up with a reasonable and legally applicable limiting government power to only this issue if the mandate was upheld.

I think that is what will ultimately put Kennedy in the “no” camp. Kennedy may be a swing vote on many issues, but I think he recognizes the dangers of removing the constitutional leash on government power represented by the mandate.

gravityman on March 27, 2012 at 3:45 PM

I’m confused. I thought ABRs were toothless hicks with a 4th grade education. Now we’re Mensa types. The Etch a Sketch will be shaken tonight and we’ll be something else.

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Oh… can I have the mensa type discription if you aren’t using it Ed?

I’ve been called trailer park a few times,…it’d be a nice change.

mark81150 on March 27, 2012 at 3:47 PM

I should add, too, that I firmly believe Obama wants this law struck down, wants to lose this case to the Supreme Court. (Maybe this is why his lawyer was such a train wreck today!) It will help his re-election efforts tremendously as he’ll get to campaign on “getting health care for all” once again, his dream campaign. Look at how the birth control issue played out — 2/3 of Americans saying it “should be free.” The best case scenario here for Obama is for this law to get struck down, thus eliminating the GOP campaign argument that they have to be elected in order to “stop” Obamacare. Obama’s lawyer is intentionally throwing this case.

Rational Thought on March 27, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Romney appointed 36 judges while governor.
Guess how many were Republican?

A) 36
B) 30
C) 20
D) 10
E) less than 10

Time is up. Pencils down.

The correct answer is E. Only 9 out of 36 judges appointed by Severely Conservative Governor Romney were Republicans.

But this is the guy that will save America with his SCOTUS picks?
LOL!

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 1:24 PM

I guess this would be an example of an inconvenient truth. Que the, it was the Massachusetts legislature’s fault, he appointed conservative democrats, it wasn’t his focus…..

noeastern on March 27, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Romney will send up judges he knows Harry Reid will like.

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Why do you assume this? Just because history suggests this doesn’t make it so. I’d much rather rely on my wishes.

noeastern on March 27, 2012 at 3:52 PM

I’m sure you have a long list of conservative lawyers in Massachusetts that Gov. Romney should have appointed.

rockmom on March 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

There’s a new one – there were no conservative candidates within 1000 miles of Massachusetts.

noeastern on March 27, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Why so much faith in Kennedy? He might just be creating cover for his legacy, “Hey, I asked the tough questions?”

mankai on March 27, 2012 at 1:03 PM

This is precisely my concern, because it is a technique of Justices hearing oral argument to play devil’s advocate and ask tough questions that would lead you to believe they will rule a particular way on an issue. The Justices who are asking these tough questions are simply doing their job and it is not necessarily an indication of how they’ll will rule.
I for one will not be popping any Champagne based on what transpired today.

RedHotinNJ on March 27, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Second half of oral arguments just finished.

From Guy Benson:

http://twitter.com/#!/guypbenson/status/184732425279123456

1. All four liberal justices peppered Clement and Carvin with tough Q’s. Several of the conservative justices did, too.

http://twitter.com/#!/guypbenson/status/184732671618973696

2. Clement & Carvin argued masterfully, exhibiting a remarkable deal of preparation & clarity of thought that could not be said of Verrelli.

http://twitter.com/#!/guypbenson/status/184732979661250560

3. The distinction between the health insurance and health care markets was really crucial.

Hooray! Thank you, Lord.

INC on March 27, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Once confirmed, Justices have a habit of deciding on their own if they are conservative or liberal. David Souter is a cautionary tale.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Exactly, a cautionary tale for those who would vote for a Bush/Romney/McCain/Bloomburg/Snowe/Chafee/Pataki…….

noeastern on March 27, 2012 at 4:08 PM

http://twitter.com/#!/guypbenson/status/184733335011065858

4. Both Clement & Carvin made the point that #Obamacare mandates coverage far beyond catastrophic care.

INC on March 27, 2012 at 4:08 PM

If the SCOTUS does ultimately strike it down, who will be the first t.v. commentator to say: “This is a big f–king deal!”?

AZCoyote on March 27, 2012 at 4:10 PM

The best case scenario here for Obama is for this law to get struck down, thus eliminating the GOP campaign argument that they have to be elected in order to “stop” Obamacare. Obama’s lawyer is intentionally throwing this case.

Rational Thought on March 27, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Why? Assuming that Romney is the nominee, Obama loses his Romneycare line of attack against him if the whole thing is struck down. It shifts the debate away from healthcare and to issues where he is not as competitive, like jobs and energy.

blammm on March 27, 2012 at 4:10 PM

How about all those bloody waivers noone is talking about

cmsinaz on March 27, 2012 at 4:12 PM

txmomof6 on March 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

The Husband was reading the transcripts and agrees.

Cindy Munford on March 27, 2012 at 4:12 PM

You want a confidence builder? Listen to this hot freaking mess from today.

Chuck Schick on March 27, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Why? Assuming that Romney is the nominee, Obama loses his Romneycare line of attack against him if the whole thing is struck down. It shifts the debate away from healthcare and to issues where he is not as competitive, like jobs and energy.

blammm on March 27, 2012 at 4:10 PM

No. Quite the opposite. If Obama loses the case, it shifts his campaign back into “free health care for all!” which is exactly where Obama would like to be.

Rational Thought on March 27, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Verilli had a bad day? He must not be the hot shot lawyer everyone says. Any lawyer who can’t memorize the words “Are you serious?” provided by noted legal scholar Nancy Pelosi and recite them to answer the question “Is the mandate constitutional?” can’t be all that.

Lily on March 27, 2012 at 2:18 PM

That’s good stuff!

noeastern on March 27, 2012 at 4:14 PM

http://twitter.com/#!/guypbenson/status/184734088492617728

5. Hoping Kennedy’s concerns over limiting principles & unprecedented govt intrusion > his quasi-acknowledgment of healthcare’s uniqueness

http://twitter.com/#!/guypbenson/status/184734487568060417

Final point: Justice Breyer and SG Verrilli relied heavily on the exaggerated stat that 40 mil Americans are uninsured: http://bit.ly/GRVgSa

http://twitter.com/#!/guypbenson/status/184734662596366337

(That last item on the 40 mil # is a political point, not a legal one).

INC on March 27, 2012 at 4:15 PM

If Obama loses the case, it shifts his campaign back into “free health care for all!” which is exactly where Obama would like to be.

Rational Thought on March 27, 2012 at 4:13 PM

The problem is that he will have already played taht card, and the umpire will have already told him “You crossed the line with that one, Chief”.

Signing blatantly unconstitutional legislation into law is hardly a resume bullet point.

JohnGalt23 on March 27, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Rational Thought on March 27, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Except that argument only sells to the very far left. That’s why there is no public option in the law. That’s why this law wasnt single payer right from the start. That’s why this law was a pre-designed debacle to move us in that direction without actually telling us. That’s why he campaigned on healthcare reform in the first place without actually campaigning on his dream of single payer. Shifting his campaign to single payer is a non-winner and all Dems know it (except maybe in Pelosi and Waters’ districts).

If he wants to do that, I’m all for it, since it’s a political loser. The middle will never go for it.

gravityman on March 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I have hope for a 6-3 overturn. Why? Two of the liberals were not appointed by Obama. Perhaps the strength of the arguments will get to them. Or they have a shred of integrity left.

Plus, Ruthie probably has a touch of dementia. She sounds 250 years old.

Grace_is_sufficient on March 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Just finished listening to the oral arguments, and good God….Verrilli did an absolutely awful job. I wonder how much of the conservative Justices’ aggressiveness and incredulity can be attributed to Verrilli’s ineffectualness. No question he’s a terrific lawyer but he had a bad, bad day.

So many of the Justices’ questions asked for relatively straightforward answers, or even factual corrections. For example, at one point, Ginsburg said that “the people who don’t participate in this market are making it much more expensive for those that do,” and Scalia interrupted by arguing: ‘You could say that about buying a car. If people don’t buy a car, the price [that car buyers] will pay will be more.”

So is Scalia saying that decreased demand raises prices? Huh? Yet, Verrilli didn’t correct him. Bizarre.

righty45 on March 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

And you’re calling others buffoons? Umm, no…no one can tell you that.

No, they can’t. But they are. So they’re buffoons.

That’s kind of the point. I didn’t realize death was an impossibility for any of the justices before 2017.

Global thermonuclear war isn’t an impossibility before 2017. Doesn’t mean we should vote based on the fear of something unlikely.

Umm, the goal is to change the court to be more in our favor, not leave it as it is. If Ginsburg steps down, that’s an opportunity to replace her with a conservative.

So to do that, we elect a guy with no history of appointing conservative judges. Fantastic. Meanwhile, he battles impotently with a liberal-held Senate and switches positions every five months until his credibility is completely shot halfway through his first term. By 2016, the stage is set for the libs either to retake the White House or House of Reps due to incompetence from the GOP.

But yeah, let’s give Obama 4 more years….you know, since the first 4 have been so great.

xblade on March 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM

This s**t is chess, it ain’t checkers.

MadisonConservative on March 27, 2012 at 4:24 PM

So is Scalia saying that decreased demand raises prices? Huh? Yet, Verrilli didn’t correct him. Bizarre.

righty45 on March 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

But that’s the laughable claim of the mandate- more demand = lower prices.

Chuck Schick on March 27, 2012 at 4:25 PM

In Verrilli’s rebuttal, he makes the statement that everybody is in the health care market at some point, and the mandate just regulates them in advance.

Under that standard, won’t everybody eventually eat food or drink liquids? Won’t everyone buy beds or microwaves? If it becomes ok to compel people to buy things “in advance” of their need, then they can force you to buy that Volt, or that Tempurpedic bed.

hawksruleva on March 27, 2012 at 4:25 PM

You want a confidence builder? Listen to this hot freaking mess from today.

Chuck Schick on March 27, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Wow .. Taking lessons from DearLeader ? Or Balwin on ‘LeftAir’ ??

pambi on March 27, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Except that argument only sells to the very far left. That’s why there is no public option in the law. That’s why this law wasnt single payer right from the start. That’s why this law was a pre-designed debacle to move us in that direction without actually telling us. That’s why he campaigned on healthcare reform in the first place without actually campaigning on his dream of single payer. Shifting his campaign to single payer is a non-winner and all Dems know it (except maybe in Pelosi and Waters’ districts).

If he wants to do that, I’m all for it, since it’s a political loser. The middle will never go for it.

gravityman on March 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

It only sells to the far left until the insurance companies — faced with a law that requires them to cover adults under their parents’ insurance until age 26 and cover pre-existing conditions with no extra charges — go bankrupt because the mandate is struck down. I am entirely opposed to the mandate, but it will be the only thing standing between the insurance companies and financial ruin with the other features of this law kept in place. Don’t have any insurance and now you have cancer? Well, you can buy insurance now, for the same price as a healthy person. See how that works? Make one $300 insurance payment, and get your $100,000 surgery and chemotherapy. How long will that insurance company last? Well, first they will raise everyone’s rates to what the cancer guy’s rates should be since he didn’t think he “needed” insurance until he got cancer. So now it’s $5000 per month — for everyone (gotta be fair and all). Oops, can’t afford that! So we’ll drop the insurance…until we need that $100,000 surgery and chemotherapy. At the cost of one or two $5,000 premium payments, it’s a bargain! Once the cancer treatments are over, drop the insurance…until the cancer comes back. The entire law is designed to crush the insurance industry and force everyone into single payer.

Rational Thought on March 27, 2012 at 4:29 PM

I am appalled that 4 justices think the government can force an individual to purchase a product.

ButterflyDragon on March 27, 2012 at 4:30 PM

I should add, too, that I firmly believe Obama wants this law struck down, wants to lose this case to the Supreme Court. (Maybe this is why his lawyer was such a train wreck today!) It will help his re-election efforts tremendously as he’ll get to campaign on “getting health care for all” once again,

Those are some real nice drugs you’re smoking. He couldn’t get single payer when the Dems had 60 Senators and a 40+ seat majority in the House. If he wants to run on that in the General Election, he’ll be lucky to do as well as Carter did in 1980.

Greg Q on March 27, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Those are some real nice drugs you’re smoking. He couldn’t get single payer when the Dems had 60 Senators and a 40+ seat majority in the House. If he wants to run on that in the General Election, he’ll be lucky to do as well as Carter did in 1980.

Greg Q on March 27, 2012 at 4:31 PM

See my comments at 4:29 p.m. He’ll get his single payer when insurance companies have to charge upwards of $5000/month premiums or go bankrupt because of the other provisions in the law. Come on. Do you actually believe Obama just accidentally sent a feckless lawyer in there today? Give me a break. Voters like the children on their parents insurance until age 26. They like that insurance companies cannot charge more for pre-existing conditions. They want “free” birth control, and that all of their other prescriptions be “free” as well. And they don’t think they should have to pay for any of it — they think the insurance companies should “pay for it.” How long do you think that will last before premiums — for everyone — are through the roof?

Rational Thought on March 27, 2012 at 4:39 PM

“I would have never voted for the final version of the bill if I expected the Obama Administration to force Catholic hospitals and Catholic Colleges and Universities to pay for contraception,” Dahlkemper said in a press release sent out by Democrats for Life in November. “We worked hard to prevent abortion funding in health care and to include clear conscience protections for those with moral objections to abortion and contraceptive devices that cause abortion. I trust that the President will honor the commitment he made to those of us who supported final passage.”

Akzed on March 27, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Rational Thought on March 27, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Yes, I do understand that very well (as a cancer survivor myself) having much experience with insurance companies. I totally understand the idea of the law as a stalking horse for single payer, whether by destruction of the insurance companies or the mass dump of employers from insurance pushing everyone into the exchanges.

My only point was that as a political position (at least in 2012, since the insurance companies aren’t quite dead yet) Obama can’t really shift his campaign to advocating single payer just yet. Perhaps in 2016 or 2020 a Dem could do that very thing if the prediction of the demise of insurance companies from Obamacare sans mandate holds true (which I agree is nearly inevitable).

gravityman on March 27, 2012 at 4:43 PM

This s**t is chess, it ain’t checkers. MadisonConservative on March 27, 2012 at 4:24 PM

You must suck at chess.

Akzed on March 27, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Wow. The Supremes are going to kick stare decisis under the bus.

Goodbye Wickard v. Filburn. And good riddance…..

unclesmrgol on March 27, 2012 at 4:52 PM

If Obamacare is struck down by SCOTUS, the saddest man in the room will be Rick Santorum, who will lose his whole argument, however lame, against Romney. Karen will cry.

jan3 on March 27, 2012 at 4:55 PM

What I’m curious about is that in two days of hearings the only SCJ not to ask a single question is Clarence Thomas. Any speculations on why?

stukinIL4now on March 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM

LOL, where have you been for the past 21 years he’s been on SCOTUS?

He always does that.

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM

If Obamacare is struck down by SCOTUS, the saddest man in the room will be Rick Santorum, who will lose his whole argument, however lame, against Romney. Karen will cry.

jan3 on March 27, 2012 at 4:55 PM

RomneyCare is still being Federally Funded… We are still paying Federally for a Mandate… So Santorum’s argument will still be the same… Why nominate RomneyCare to run against OBamneyCare…

Romney’s Cap & Trade to run against Obama’s Cap & Trade…

McCain Part Deux is why…

Y314K on March 27, 2012 at 5:14 PM

Romney appointed 36 judges while governor.
Guess how many were Republican?

A) 36
B) 30
C) 20
D) 10
E) less than 10

Time is up. Pencils down.

The correct answer is E. Only 9 out of 36 judges appointed by Severely Conservative Governor Romney were Republicans.

But this is the guy that will save America with his SCOTUS picks?
LOL!

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 1:24 PM

I guess this would be an example of an inconvenient truth. Que the, it was the Massachusetts legislature’s fault, he appointed conservative democrats, it wasn’t his focus…..

noeastern on March 27, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Oh for heavens sakes, it is Mass there are not that many Republicans who are going to past the Democratic legislature and most of these judges sit in criminal cases and are not supposed to be picked on a political basis anyway.

Terrye on March 27, 2012 at 5:23 PM

I’m confused. I thought ABRs were toothless hicks with a 4th grade education. Now we’re Mensa types. The Etch a Sketch will be shaken tonight and we’ll be something else.

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 2:44 PM

I think the etch a sketch stuff is really silly, considering some of the really stupid stuff those ABR candidates say virtually every day..but then again the ABR crowd can be very juvenile, hence their fascination with children’s toys.

Terrye on March 27, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Karen will cry.

jan3 on March 27, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Why are you guys such d1cks? Why is it necessary to drag his wife into your petty shilling?

hawkdriver on March 27, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Ed’s 3rd case(above) is what I’m worried about.

If the mandate is upheld then it will end any pretense of a limited federal government but at least it might(small chance) be the boiling water us frogs need.

If only the mandate is struck down, if Mitt is the nominee and if the TParty is weak then the Repubs will make a deal and save “healthcare” so as not to be the anti-healthcare party just prior to the 2012 election. It will be done through future fantasy spending cuts.

BoxHead1 on March 27, 2012 at 5:29 PM

In other words … 5-4, here we come.

So is this a prediction that 4 or 5 “Justices” will vote to assassinate the United States Constitution.

RasThavas on March 27, 2012 at 5:31 PM

RomneyCare is still being Federally Funded… We are still paying Federally for a Mandate… So Santorum’s argument will still be the same… Why nominate RomneyCare to run against OBamneyCare…

Romney’s Cap & Trade to run against Obama’s Cap & Trade…

McCain Part Deux is why…

Y314K on March 27, 2012 at 5:14 PM

It is just astonishing how much disinformation there is out there.

For one thing Romney refused to have Mass join up with other New England states in a pact to cut emissions because of the economic impact it would have on that state. He does not support Cap and Trade and he never did. That is just a fact.

And as for Romneycare…when it passed conservatives loved. Jim DeMint praised it..when he ran in 2008 conservatives were singing his praises.

Romneycare is a state law, and it is constitutional and if the people of Mass want to get rid they can. However, since it supported by 8 in 10 citizens in that state, they probably won’t be trying to get rid of it.

I wish people would get their facts straight.

Terrye on March 27, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Wanted: Barack Obama for attempted assassination of the United States Constitution.

RasThavas on March 27, 2012 at 5:34 PM

And as far as Romneycare being funding by the Feds..the money that came from the federal government was already there when Romney became Governor..it was supposed to offset the costs of paying for care for people who did not have insurance or money..they used that money because it helped subsidize the costs of insurance for some lower income people..if there had not been a Romneycare, that federal money would still have gone to Mass to pay for healthcare for the poor.

None of that has anything to do with Obamacare or the arguments at the Supreme Court concerning the enumerated powers of the federal government in the Constitution.

Terrye on March 27, 2012 at 5:39 PM

LOL, where have you been for the past 21 years he’s been on SCOTUS?

He always does that.

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM

To be honest, I haven’t paid this much attention to SCOTUS in decades, at least not to their process of hearing arguments, so I appreciate the intel. Thanx.

stukinIL4now on March 27, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Greg Q on March 27, 2012 at 4:31 PM

from your keyboard to G_D’s ears ….

conservative tarheel on March 27, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Kennedy’s questions about mandate changing fundamental relationship is encouraging, no?

hawkdriver on March 27, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Oh for heavens sakes, it is Mass there are not that many Republicans who are going to past the Democratic legislature and most of these judges sit in criminal cases and are not supposed to be picked on a political basis anyway.

Terrye on March 27, 2012 at 5:23 PM

In MA, juduges have to pass an eight person Governor’s Council, elected by the voters. All eight were Democrats in Romney’s time.

Romney had no SJC appointments. No high court apppointments really. Just low level district court, land court type of appointments. And yes, old school conservatives Dems are far more conservative on crime, social issues and law and order issues than most Republicans and liberals.

It is just one more lie, perpetuated by the sames knuckle-draggers who try to tell people he supported gay marriage.

swamp_yankee on March 27, 2012 at 5:49 PM

What I’m curious about is that in two days of hearings the only SCJ not to ask a single question is Clarence Thomas. Any speculations on why?

stukinIL4now on March 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM

I’m surprised that Ruth Buzzi woke up long enough to ask a question. The other libs must have loaded her up with No-Doz.

slickwillie2001 on March 27, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Kennedy’s questions about mandate changing fundamental relationship is encouraging, no?

hawkdriver on March 27, 2012 at 5:43 PM

I think so, but I’m not a lawyer, it does indicate to me, he’s uneasy with the transformational nature of the Bill. It’s one thing to extend an already existing law, but to essentially say, that Congress has no Constitutional checks on it’s power or it’s desire to change our lives…

My gut tells me, it’s not going to be 5-4.. maybe 6-3.. a better outcome. A classic liberal has to shrink from that, is there at least one among the liberals on SCOTUS?

mark81150 on March 27, 2012 at 6:02 PM

“Essentially, the Solicitor General’s performance was so abysmal that it fell to the [Democratic] appointees to make his argument for him,”

Kind of makes one wonder what the point of all this is – if the Judges have decided to become the lawyers for the government’s case.

Sickening.

Oopsdaisy on March 27, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Only moments away from Levin’s program, as I cook dinner !!!
Could prove enlightening.

pambi on March 27, 2012 at 6:05 PM

I am appalled that 4 justices think the government can force an individual to purchase a product.

ButterflyDragon on March 27, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Those same four judges would vote the opposite way if the product were a firearm.

Dasher on March 27, 2012 at 6:09 PM

What I’m curious about is that in two days of hearings the only SCJ not to ask a single question is Clarence Thomas. Any speculations on why?

stukinIL4now on March 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM

You’re not curious at all. What you want to do is establish by inference that Justice Thomas is black and therefore stupid and he is conservative and therefore double stupid. Well you are a bigot and triply stupid. In addition, there is much shelf space filled with briefs and amicae, along with the “testamony” for this hearing. If you think that the orals are going to “convince” these real legal scholars to change their minds, then you are quadrupally stupid. Ad homs are OK if they are true.

Old Country Boy on March 27, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Those same four judges would vote the opposite way if the product were a firearm.

Dasher on March 27, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Yup. Still bad.

pambi on March 27, 2012 at 6:27 PM

What I’m curious about is that in two days of hearings the only SCJ not to ask a single question is Clarence Thomas. Any speculations on why?

stukinIL4now on March 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM

You’re not curious at all. What you want to do is establish by inference that Justice Thomas is black and therefore stupid and he is conservative and therefore double stupid. Well you are a bigot and triply stupid. In addition, there is much shelf space filled with briefs and amicae, along with the “testamony” for this hearing. If you think that the orals are going to “convince” these real legal scholars to change their minds, then you are quadrupally stupid. Ad homs are OK if they are true.

Old Country Boy on March 27, 2012 at 6:20 PM

As I recall, Justice Thomas’s wife has been politically active and the libs were calling for him to recuse himself, and therefore he is laying low during these hearings.

lhuffman34 on March 27, 2012 at 7:17 PM

I, for one, will not get my hopes up. Look at the method in which the baill was passed in the first place. These dogs fight dirty, and it won’t be over until the vote is taken and opinons released.

Sheerq on March 27, 2012 at 7:30 PM

forgive my typos

Sheerq on March 27, 2012 at 7:34 PM

It is just astonishing how much disinformation there is out there.

For one thing Romney refused to have Mass join up with other New England states in a pact to cut emissions because of the economic impact it would have on that state. He does not support Cap and Trade and he never did. That is just a fact.

And as for Romneycare…when it passed conservatives loved. Jim DeMint praised it..when he ran in 2008 conservatives were singing his praises.

Romneycare is a state law, and it is constitutional and if the people of Mass want to get rid they can. However, since it supported by 8 in 10 citizens in that state, they probably won’t be trying to get rid of it.

I wish people would get their facts straight.

Terrye on March 27, 2012 at 5:32 PM

______________________________________________________

And as far as Romneycare being funding by the Feds..the money that came from the federal government was already there when Romney became Governor..it was supposed to offset the costs of paying for care for people who did not have insurance or money..they used that money because it helped subsidize the costs of insurance for some lower income people..if there had not been a Romneycare, that federal money would still have gone to Mass to pay for healthcare for the poor.

None of that has anything to do with Obamacare or the arguments at the Supreme Court concerning the enumerated powers of the federal government in the Constitution.

Terrye on March 27, 2012 at 5:39 PM

I am just astonishing just how RomnBots will twist themselves to find what they consider the positive parts of LAWS sign by Romney…

Just days after his 2002 election, Mr. Romney hired Douglas Foy, one of the state’s most prominent environmental activists, and put him in charge of supervising four state agencies.

Mr. Foy had initiated a lawsuit that led to the cleanup of Boston Harbor and had worked to protect fishing grounds and seashores. Once in the Romney administration, he served as the governor’s negotiator on a regional climate-change initiative …

________________________________________________________

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, whose health-care record as governor of Massachusetts has left him struggling to win the support of conservative voters, now faces another point of vulnerability: his environmental record.

Mr. Romney joined activists outside an aging, coal-fired plant in 2003 to show his commitment to the emissions caps. “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people,” he said.

On Dec. 7, 2005, the Romney administration unveiled the final orders. “These carbon emission limits will provide real and immediate progress in the battle to improve our environment,” then-Gov. Romney said in a press release touting Massachusetts as “the first and only state to set CO2 emissions limits on power plants.”

This is Romney… He is a climate-change disciple… It’s not just about what he said and says… It’s about what he did with the power he had… Time and time again Romney has proven by PASSING LAWS that he is a PROGRESSIVE….. He has said in the past too that he is a PROGRESSIVE… Just words do not mean anything… But DEEDS(LAWS) & WORDS tells u who ROMNEY is… But, But, But Romney had to… or But, But, But… Someone else said the same thing Romney actually sign into LAW… But, But, But… It’s not Romney’s fault…

BS!!!

As for RomneyCare… I’ll just quote myself…

Is RomneyCare/Mandate constitutional… YES (The only thing that matters is MA Constitution)

Is RomneyCare Federally Funded… YES (Congress needs to stop all Federal Funds for propping up Romneys Mandate… Without Federall Funds RomneyCare would be gonzo by now)

If ObamaCare’s Mandate is found unconstitutional I wonder if Federal Funds going to prop-up Romney’sMandateCare can be challenge ala not paying for abortions Federally while abortions being legal…

Either way… Mittens is the worst person to have on this issue… He takes all 4 stances in it…

For States Federally Funded Mandates… (Legal at State level depending on State’s constitution but this should never be a GOP’s candidate default position)
Against Federal Federally Funded Mandates…
Will repeal Federal carbon copy of his States Mandate on day one mind u..
Won’t stop Federally Funding his State Federally Funded Mandate…

Pretzel = Romney

But Demint… But Demint… Well Demint didn’t put it into LAW did him… But X said.. But X said… Romney passed the LAW… Mandates should not be ANY GOP candidates default fix for anything…. And Romney started Federally Funding RomneyCare… And he can stop it but he won’t…

Y314K on March 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM

libfreeordie on March 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Dude. I don’t know who these so-called conservatives think they are, but there’s not one D@MN thing in the Constitution that authorizes this. There is no right to healthcare, or free stuff.

If you think there is, site the Article, Section and Clause in the Constitution that authorizes the Federal Government to get involved in healthcare.

And I’ll even go you one better… if there’s enough penumbras and vaporous apparitions to support the “right” of healthcare… there’s a whole heck of a lot more to support arming and training citizens in a militia! Heck, I’ll even cite the Constitution to prove my point…

2nd Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia

And in case you’re one of those wackos who thinks that the Militia refers to the military… IT DOESN’T! Otherwise, the militia wouldn’t be mentioned separate from the navy and army in earlier clauses of Article I Section 8.

The Militia was defined individually by each State, in their State Constitution. For example, I live in Ohio. Ohio’s militia is defined in section 9.01 of the Ohio Constitution…

Ohio Constitution 9.01: All citizens, residents of this state, being seventeen years of age, and under the age of sixty-seven years, shall be subject to enrollment in the militia and the performance of military duty, in such manner, not incompatible with the Constitution and laws of the United States, as may be prescribed by law.

So in conclusion, there’s more Constitutional RIGHT to arm citizens with firearms, and provide training on how to use them, then there is for your precious healthcare!

dominigan on March 27, 2012 at 8:18 PM

In Verrilli’s rebuttal, he makes the statement that everybody is in the health care market at some point, and the mandate just regulates them in advance.

Under that standard, won’t everybody eventually eat food or drink liquids? Won’t everyone buy beds or microwaves? If it becomes ok to compel people to buy things “in advance” of their need, then they can force you to buy that Volt, or that Tempurpedic bed.

hawksruleva on March 27, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Imagine if Obamacare2 required everyone to buy their grave plot in advanced to consuming “health”care from the Death Panels!

dominigan on March 27, 2012 at 8:28 PM

What I’m curious about is that in two days of hearings the only SCJ not to ask a single question is Clarence Thomas. Any speculations on why?

stukinIL4now on March 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM

You’re not curious at all. What you want to do is establish by inference that Justice Thomas is black and therefore stupid and he is conservative and therefore double stupid. Well you are a bigot and triply stupid. In addition, there is much shelf space filled with briefs and amicae, along with the “testamony” for this hearing. If you think that the orals are going to “convince” these real legal scholars to change their minds, then you are quadrupally stupid. Ad homs are OK if they are true.

Old Country Boy on March 27, 2012 at 6:20 PM

As I recall, Justice Thomas’s wife has been politically active and the libs were calling for him to recuse himself, and therefore he is laying low during these hearings.

lhuffman34 on March 27, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Actually that is Justice Thomas’s mode of operation. He asks few questions. But is a great listener to what is happening in the courtroom.

Dasher on March 27, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Actually that is Justice Thomas’s mode of operation. He asks few questions. But is a great listener to what is happening in the courtroom.

Dasher on March 27, 2012 at 8:33 PM

He probably also prefers to read the briefs… What someone says and what someone puts on paper are mostly not the same.. Books vs Movies and all… .. No proof but just might thought on Justice Thomas

Y314K on March 27, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Solicitor General’s Conscience gets the best of him in a brief moment of buyer’s remorse. Perfect!

Rovin on March 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Actually that is Justice Thomas’s mode of operation. He asks few questions. But is a great listener to what is happening in the courtroom.

Dasher on March 27, 2012 at 8:33 PM

You’re right. Thomas hasn’t spoken during oral arguments since Feb. 22, 2006. Many have speculated as to the reasons why he chooses to take such a passive role, with theories ranging from his desire to actually hear the arguments rather than present his own to language barriers that resulted from his upbringing in the Gullah community of Georgia.

blammm on March 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM

I trust that the President will honor the commitment he made to those of us who supported final passage.”

Akzed on March 27, 2012 at 4:43 PM

The problem with your comment above Akzed, is the word “honor”. Not only this president, but all of the presidents in my life time with the exception of Truman and Esienhower, have been willing to forego honor for money or power.

As for the current slub in the oval office, I would submit that the only honor he has ever learned of is the wonderful muslim ritual of ‘honor killing’ of their women.

jarhead0311 on March 28, 2012 at 7:34 AM

I should add, too, that I firmly believe Obama wants this law struck down, wants to lose this case to the Supreme Court. (Maybe this is why his lawyer was such a train wreck today!) It will help his re-election efforts tremendously as he’ll get to campaign on “getting health care for all” once again, his dream campaign. Look at how the birth control issue played out — 2/3 of Americans saying it “should be free.” The best case scenario here for Obama is for this law to get struck down, thus eliminating the GOP campaign argument that they have to be elected in order to “stop” Obamacare. Obama’s lawyer is intentionally throwing this case.

Rational Thought on March 27, 2012 at 3:47 PM

It’s possible that this is a strategy, but not likely. Fact is, people now know what Obamacare is all about. If he campaigns on doing it AGAIN, he will face a HUGE backlash that will make the Tea Party charge of 2010 look like a Sunday picnic.

fossten on March 28, 2012 at 9:50 AM

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