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 just flat out scares me to death to think that 5 human beings hold the cards to actually declare America’s constitution as unconstitutional….

Ltlgeneral64 on March 27, 2012 at 1:30 PM
Me, too.

Bitter Clinger on March 27, 2012 at 1:36 PM

It occurs to me that the mere fact that we’re having a debate that could result in the death of federalism is a sign that we are all doomed already.

Herald of Woe on March 27, 2012 at 1:59 PM

But it doesn’t, even if they uphold the constitutionality of the individual mandate, the United States Congress with a majority can overturn the bill, and a President willing to sign overturning the bill can also defeat this abomination. It’s going to take republican majorities in the House and Senate, and a republican President. 70% of Americans polled want Obamacare repealed, that doesn’t bode well for Obama in November or Democrats running for seats in the Senate and House.

Dr Evil on March 27, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Will you please define honest leftism?
VibrioCocci on March 27, 2012 at 1:47 PM

You are surprised that leftists display a high level of cognitive dissonance. They will scream that America is an evil country because of slavery but continue to gleefully sell our progeny into penury slavery for their utopian dreams. IMHO Utopia is Dante’s lowest level of hell.

chemman on March 27, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Finally, someone gets it. This is precisely why conservatives in the 1990s were the first to float the notion of an individual mandate. It was meant to preserve the private insurance market while Hillary went after a single payer system. Now you all can ignore the Heritage foundation literture all you want, but they were pushing for an individual mandate as early as 1988!

The true left has always been opposed to the individual mandate. It is a tax on the poor and middle class and there’s no guarantee of quality coverage. A single payer system is the only way and it is inevitable if the mandate is struck down but the rest of the bill, including requirements to cover those with pre-existing conditions remain in place.

And the problem for the right is that if the mandate is struck down and the left is motivated in the 2012 election, it would actually motivate me to work for the Democrats, then a simple “medicare for all” bill will be proposed and pushed in Congress. And there’s no way to argue that expanding the medicare age requirement to birth is unconstitutional. That is ultimately my goal.

libfreeordie on March 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

You make a good point, but just as you use the term “The true left”, let me correct your use of “conservatives” floating the mandate in the late 80′s. Yes, some conservatives and Heritage were sucked into that idiotic reasoning, but it was moderate Republicans and non-socialist liberals. It didn’t last long at Heritage before they dumped it and its author(s). I’m not letting “true” conservatives off the hook, though. You state there’s no way to argue that expanding medicare is unconstitutional. That’s because each time SCOTUS rips another hole in the Constitution conservatives don’t have the cajones to impeach. Congress has taken an oath to defend and protect the Constitution, too. True liberals promise the electorate opiates paid for by others. They know, once addicted, the people will give up their freedom for more. Conservatives are afraid of these addictions and go along. These crack programs aren’t fiscally sustainable and addicts won’t change until they hit rock bottom IF they survive at all. Why you “true liberals” think you can do what the Soviets with all their command & control couldn’t? Or even Europe with a democratic system?
Freedom can be hard, but it is still the most precious possession humanity has a natural right to have.

cartooner on March 27, 2012 at 2:06 PM

This isn’t all hunky dory folks. If the mandate alone is struck from Obamacare, then no insurance company in the country will be able to stay in business so they won’t. Nobody will have health care coverage, so this will require more legislation. Democrats will get another bite at the universal healthcare apple, and they’ll use the same strategy they used for raising the debt ceiling. Americans will be screaming for them to fix this, and with the help of the media, they’ll cast the GOP as the bad guys. The GOP will cave on universal health care same as they did with the debt ceiling.

DFCtomm on March 27, 2012 at 2:07 PM

the Solicitor General’s performance was so abysmal

hahahahaha

Obama is blaming someone else? hahahahaha

faraway on March 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Gosh, this seems like such a slam dunk if you just follow the Constitution.

Rohall1215 on March 27, 2012 at 2:09 PM

This isn’t all hunky dory folks. If the mandate alone is struck from Obamacare, then no insurance company in the country will be able to stay in business so they won’t. Nobody will have health care coverage, so this will require more legislation. Democrats will get another bite at the universal healthcare apple, and they’ll use the same strategy they used for raising the debt ceiling. Americans will be screaming for them to fix this, and with the help of the media, they’ll cast the GOP as the bad guys. The GOP will cave on universal health care same as they did with the debt ceiling.

DFCtomm on March 27, 2012 at 2:07 PM

The insurance companies can certainly choose not to comply with the rest of the regulations they agreed to in return for the mandate. No government can force a company to go broke.

rockmom on March 27, 2012 at 2:09 PM

It’s a trap.

SCOTUS will strike it down, then they will be the next target. They will be destroyed as the Eye of Sauron and the Leftwing Media Industrial Complex bring their full force against them.

vsunited on March 27, 2012 at 2:11 PM

A bit too far from family, but if a position opens in my field in Canada next job cycle you can be sure I’ll be applying.

libfreeordie on March 27, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Hope you’re better at keeping promises than Alec Baldwin was.

Old Fritz on March 27, 2012 at 2:11 PM

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

I clerked for my state’s supreme court at one point in my career and let me just point out that this sentence is b.s. The reports are that the liberal justices remained mostly silent today. Now, while they may vote to uphold the mandate, their silence today does NOT indicate support for the mandate as stated in the above. They could have asked questions to try to throw the US Attorney a life vest when Kennedy, Roberts, et al were attacking his position & they could have asked questions of the states’ attorney to attack his position and that may be taken as “appearing to be in favor of the mandate.” But SILENCE indicates nothing one way or the other.

Dark Star on March 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

The insurance companies can certainly choose not to comply with the rest of the regulations they agreed to in return for the mandate. No government can force a company to go broke.

rockmom on March 27, 2012 at 2:09 PM

So now the insurance companies can choose which regulations they’ll adhere to? If only the mandate is struck down then the only course left for insurance companies is the “the only way to win is not to play” strategy. Nobody will have health care, until more lawsuits are settled or Congress acts on more legislation.

DFCtomm on March 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

But it doesn’t, even if they uphold the constitutionality of the individual mandate, the United States Congress with a majority can overturn the bill, and a President willing to sign overturning the bill can also defeat this abomination. It’s going to take republican majorities in the House and Senate, and a republican President. 70% of Americans polled want Obamacare repealed, that doesn’t bode well for Obama in November or Democrats running for seats in the Senate and House.

Dr Evil on March 27, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Don’t forget we only need 52 votes in the Senate to repeal it.

rockmom on March 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Breyer, Ginsberg and Kagan. These 3 believe in a European style Constitution

So, you’re saying that the Wise Latina is actually to the right of these three?

Right Mover on March 27, 2012 at 2:14 PM

I don’t want to jump the gun, but do keep the humpbot well oiled.

WannabeAnglican on March 27, 2012 at 2:14 PM

I clerked for my state’s supreme court at one point in my career and let me just point out that this sentence is b.s. The reports are that the liberal justices remained mostly silent today. Now, while they may vote to uphold the mandate, their silence today does NOT indicate support for the mandate as stated in the above. They could have asked questions to try to throw the US Attorney a life vest when Kennedy, Roberts, et al were attacking his position & they could have asked questions of the states’ attorney to attack his position and that may be taken as “appearing to be in favor of the mandate.” But SILENCE indicates nothing one way or the other.

Dark Star on March 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

We all know how the liberal justices are going to vote. Silent or otherwise they will put their ideology before the constitution.

sharrukin on March 27, 2012 at 2:15 PM

I wonder if The Won thought that the gentleman arguing for the administration’s position was really the best man for the job or he’s just so sure that he is right that anyone would do?

Cindy Munford on March 27, 2012 at 2:16 PM

It’s a trap.

SCOTUS will strike it down, then they will be the next target.
vsunited on March 27, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Win/win, SCOTUS has been held up as more powerful than the other two branches since the first time they strengthened Roe. They need to be taken down a peg, or two.

cozmo on March 27, 2012 at 2:16 PM

So now the insurance companies can choose which regulations they’ll adhere to? If only the mandate is struck down then the only course left for insurance companies is the “the only way to win is not to play” strategy. Nobody will have health care, until more lawsuits are settled or Congress acts on more legislation.

DFCtomm on March 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

They can raise premiums severely to pay for all the new coverage requirements. If I were a CEO, I would certainly defy Sebelius and ignore all the rest of the law; the only alternative is a 50% premium hike. Let her take me to court and argue that!

What is likely to happen is that in the face of such huge premium hikes the Congress will pass and the President will have to sign a bill that eliminates the coverage mandates.

rockmom on March 27, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Listening now on CSPAN:

http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN3/

Sotomayor just dropped a 1% vrs 99% reference in her question. Something like “nobody, with the exception of maybe 1% of the population can afford healthcare without insurance”

Dash on March 27, 2012 at 1:48 PM

She really said that? What an idiot. There are people that live long and healthy lives and never need anything that they can’t pay for out of their own pocket, and they need not be “1%”.

In fact there are a few people out there that never need anything at all, though admittedly few.

slickwillie2001 on March 27, 2012 at 2:18 PM

This isn’t all hunky dory folks. If the mandate alone is struck from Obamacare, then no insurance company in the country will be able to stay in business so they won’t.

DFCtomm on March 27, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Actually, something entirely different might happen when health insurance companies go out of business. The whole new class of insurance enterprise may emerge, possibly as an offspring of home-insurance business, that deals exclusively with a predefined set of catastrophic health events. Due to their narrow coverage scope, state and federal governments will find it much harder to regulate them to death. Eventually, such enterprises will outlast indemnity and HMO bureaucratic dinosaurs and become what health insurance should have become in the first place.

Archivarix on March 27, 2012 at 2:18 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

We all know how the liberal justices are going to vote. Silent or otherwise they will put their ideology before the constitution.

sharrukin on March 27, 2012 at 2:15 PM

And, silence, where one would normally be moved to object – connotes approval.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 27, 2012 at 2:19 PM

SCOTUS will strike it down, then they will be the next target.

vsunitedon March 27, 2012 at 2:11 PM

How about this scenario…

SCOTUS strikes down. Obama blames right wing SC.

Obama wins reelection. Obama packs the court based on the election mandate.

Profit!!

faraway on March 27, 2012 at 2:19 PM

And the problem for the right is that if the mandate is struck down and the left is motivated in the 2012 election, it would actually motivate me to work for the Democrats, then a simple “medicare for all” bill will be proposed and pushed in Congress. And there’s no way to argue that expanding the medicare age requirement to birth is unconstitutional. That is ultimately my goal.

libfreeordie on March 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Why aren’t your politicians as honest as you are about the trajectory of “healthcare reform”?

You know the answer already.

Nom de Boom on March 27, 2012 at 2:19 PM

If it’s struck down, President Obama 2009-2017. Guaranteed.

inthemiddle on March 27, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Anyone know if Obamacare covers late stage syphillitic dementia?

Abiss on March 27, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Hope you’re better at keeping promises than Alec Baldwin was.

Old Fritz on March 27, 2012 at 2:11 PM

We could take up a collection for a Greyhound ticket perhaps?

slickwillie2001 on March 27, 2012 at 2:21 PM

For every idiot who sat home and sulked in 2008, or plans to sit home and sulk in 2012, go punch yourself in the groin.

swamp_yankee on March 27, 2012 at 1:00 PM

To all other buffoons similar to this monkey, can someone explain to me which justice are going to step down or die before 2017? The oldest one on the court is Ginsberg, and if she’s replaced with a liberal, the count will remain unchanged. So it goes for Breyer, who talked about stepping down. This scare tactic about the SCOTUS is empty, and the abusive tone to people who don’t want to vote for a RINO like Romney didn’t work in 2008, nor will it work this time around. Stop acting like union thugs.

MadisonConservative on March 27, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Don’t forget we only need 52 votes in the Senate to repeal it.

rockmom on March 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Except for the filibuster. Gonna need more than 52 and possibly peel off a few vulnerable red-state Democrats.

Bitter Clinger on March 27, 2012 at 2:21 PM

the only alternative is a 50% premium hike.
rockmom on March 27, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Sooooo….basically nobody will have health coverage? Seems like I heard that somewhere. You think that pressure was brought to bear by the media on the GOP during the debt ceiling fight, well you aint seen nothing yet. Americas will be screaming to fix this mess and applying huge pressure, and the media will direct and focus that pressure on the GOP and we’ll get universal health care.

DFCtomm on March 27, 2012 at 2:22 PM

And, silence, where one would normally be moved to object – connotes approval.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 27, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Not always, but it certainly suggests approval. They are progressives/liberals and they will vote for what they believe in and that isn’t the constitution.

sharrukin on March 27, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Anyone know if Obamacare covers late stage syphillitic dementia?

Abiss on March 27, 2012 at 2:19 PM

I think IPAB ruled that withdrawal of food and fluids was the only acceptable form of treatment. Of course, if you’re a potted plant, all you need is a little sunlight…

Nom de Boom on March 27, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Breyer, Ginsberg and Kagan. These 3 believe in a European style Constitution

So, you’re saying that the Wise Latina is actually to the right of these three?

Right Mover on March 27, 2012 at 2:14 PM

She probably is, at least on matters that aren’t racially charged. There isn’t much space to the left of that trio, anyway.

Archivarix on March 27, 2012 at 2:22 PM

where is our crr6?

She shows up once in a while at Ace’s place.

jrgdds on March 27, 2012 at 2:23 PM

If the mandate is struck down then the question of severability will come into play. The law itself lacks the clause for severability (and it was removed from the legislation, indicating Congress did this knowing what they were doing), but beyond that as the complexity of the law is such that there are unknown and unknowable ramifications to getting rid of any part of it the idea is that if one part goes then it should all go.

Being left with the rest of the law and no mandate will jack up the cost of insurance skywards, until it is an unaffordable product. Then it won’t be offered any more and insurance companies will also review their other health insurance areas and weigh the risks of ANY Congressional action against keeping such vehicles.

What happens after that?

Welcome to pay your own way and health insurance being affordable only as a ‘perk’ for the very rich.

Just like it was BEFORE Congress started getting involved with tinkering with the system during WWII.

There will still be some extremely carefully crafted plans for things like accidental death and dismemberment and catastrophic care contingency insurance, but the post-WWII style of ‘let the insurance company handle it’ will vanish for the majority of Americans. If you have grandparents still alive, ask them what to do… they will remember the days of getting to know a local doctor and having him or her tailor their cost and payment to what a patient could afford.

Congress is demonstrating that it can regulate something to death.

In this case it is an area in which the intermediary, that is to say government regulation fostering insurance company bureaucracy, wasn’t worth the cost. That means that you and your family will have to work out the best way forward and not look to Congress, a business or an insurance company for ‘help’.

Yes, if you are a big fan of government stepping in to ‘help’ then having the entire thing tossed out is the BEST option on the negative side as it leaves the only pretty awful system that was there before Obamacare. Getting part of it thrown out results in a nightmare for fans of government ‘help’ as it shows up the cost and burden directly and in a measurable way in a very, very short period of time.

ajacksonian on March 27, 2012 at 2:24 PM

If the mandate is struck down, it may help Obama a little, though I think not because of the humiliation it would cause him. He spent his first two years and his House majority for this bill, and to see it get overruled would convince even more people that his first term has been a farce. Romney would definitely benefit, since one of the chief arguments against him as the nominee is that Romneycare makes it impossible for him to critique Obamacare. I don’t think that’s true, but then the point will be moot anyway.

EricW on March 27, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Mandate was a gimmick to balance out the expenses of expanded government healthcare. Liberals will have no problem with mandate struck down, they will continue implementing the bill, since spending more money than originally planed never stopped any politician before.

anikol on March 27, 2012 at 2:26 PM

But it doesn’t, even if they uphold the constitutionality of the individual mandate, the United States Congress with a majority can overturn the bill, and a President willing to sign overturning the bill can also defeat this abomination. It’s going to take republican majorities in the House and Senate, and a republican President. 70% of Americans polled want Obamacare repealed, that doesn’t bode well for Obama in November or Democrats running for seats in the Senate and House.

Dr Evil on March 27, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Except mandates will rear their head every time the dems get a majority. Watch out the next time they get a trifecta. If SCOTUS doesn’t strike it down, the only sure way to drive a stake in it would be a constitutional amendment to specifically define inter-/intra-state commerce, general welfare. If it gets that far, might as well repeal or amend the 16th to limit the power to tax incomes, i.e. can be raised only with unanimous consent of State Governors and lowered with a 2/3 majority of said State Governors. This makes income a federalism issue and not just left to the whims of the simple majoriy of 535 princes and princesses in Congress. Just one State can stop Congress from raising income taxes. Congress can still tweak other taxes in accordance with the enumerated taxes in the Constitution.

AH_C on March 27, 2012 at 2:26 PM

I wonder if The Won thought that the gentleman arguing for the administration’s position was really the best man for the job or he’s just so sure that he is right that anyone would do?

Cindy Munford on March 27, 2012 at 2:16 PM

There are millions of Washingtons kneeling in the snow all across this country. Divine Providence is always the wild card.

Nom de Boom on March 27, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Win/win, SCOTUS has been held up as more powerful than the other two branches since the first time they strengthened Roe. They need to be taken down a peg, or two.

cozmo on March 27, 2012 at 2:16 PM

SCOTUS has been held up as more powerful than the other two branches since it granted itself the extraconstitutional power of judicial review. That ship sailed a long time ago.

gryphon202 on March 27, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Archivarix on March 27, 2012 at 2:18 PM

It’s possible. We’re headed into chaos and it’s impossible to predict exactly how it will fall out in the end, but I know what the left, media, and GOP will do. This could turn out to be the most pyrrhic conservative victory ever.

DFCtomm on March 27, 2012 at 2:27 PM

hahahahaha

Obama is blaming someone else? hahahahaha

faraway on March 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM

So did Wolfie !
Rush just played a clip him having a conniption fit over the concept of the bad, unprepared lawyer.
BUWAHAHAHAHA.

pambi on March 27, 2012 at 2:27 PM

“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.”

Love it. No, chums, he didn’t “have a bad day”, he had a piss poor case to try to make, and the “conservative” justices weren’t dumb enough to let him get away with the idiotic arguments the ObamaCare supporters have been relying upon.

They crashed and burned the exact same way in the lower courts, because once you let the Federal Gov’t force people to buy a product, you’ve destroyed any limits on the Federal Government’s

Greg Q on March 27, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Did you even read what I wrote? No con will retired 2013-2016. Which means Obama won’t change SCOTUS in a second term. …

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Of course, a conservative judge can croak, go west, feed the flowers, go to that great supreme court in the sky, during a seconf term of obama. You great college BS session mensa types never consider the estaction.

Old Country Boy on March 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM

I don’t want to jump the gun, but do keep the humpbot well oiled.

WannabeAnglican on March 27, 2012 at 2:14 PM

yup

ted c on March 27, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Now, while they may vote to uphold the mandate, their silence today does NOT indicate support for the mandate as stated in the above.

Dark Star on March 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

If they are that biased that they would vote to uphold this travesty of a bill, how is that not support for it?! Or are they really that ignorant?

Sterling Holobyte on March 27, 2012 at 2:32 PM

We all know how the liberal justices are going to vote. Silent or otherwise they will put their ideology before the constitution.

sharrukin on March 27, 2012 at 2:15 PM

True enough, but not germane. My rant was directed at the reporter’s statement that equated silence with “support.” It is sloppy reporting and there is just too d@mn much of that nowadays.

Dark Star on March 27, 2012 at 2:34 PM

“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.

This is why Kagan should have recused herself as she clearly has a conflict of interest. This is a sad day when the Justices have to make the argument for the Attorney’s and a sad day for the US Supreme Court who should not show their bias.

Yikes!

uhangtight on March 27, 2012 at 2:34 PM

The insurance companies can certainly choose not to comply with the rest of the regulations they agreed to in return for the mandate. No government can force a company to go broke.

rockmom on March 27, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Huh?? What world are you from? The United States Government makes hundreds of companies go broke every day.

Old Country Boy on March 27, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Most of us agree that the ultimate goal of the left is universal health care. They considered this a step in that direction because the system would become so expensive that the public would come to them and demand it. Striking the mandate accomplishes that goal at light speed. We have to be aware and plan for what is to come after this victory.

DFCtomm on March 27, 2012 at 2:35 PM

True enough, but not germane. My rant was directed at the reporter’s statement that equated silence with “support.” It is sloppy reporting and there is just too d@mn much of that nowadays.

Dark Star on March 27, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Except for the fact that silence in this case does indicate support, you have a very good point.

sharrukin on March 27, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Of course, a conservative judge can croak, go west, feed the flowers, go to that great supreme court in the sky, during a seconf term of obama.
Old Country Boy on March 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM

I am afraid one will mysteriously die or suddenly decide to retire due to pressure from people getting “in their face” as instructed to do by someone we all know.

Sterling Holobyte on March 27, 2012 at 2:37 PM

If they are that biased that they would vote to uphold this travesty of a bill, how is that not support for it?! Or are they really that ignorant?

Sterling Holobyte on March 27, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Again, my problem is the way the reporter wrote the statement that the liberal justices “appear to support the mandate” when, in fact, they didn’t ask one d@mn question. I’m sick of that kind of making up “facts” in the news. I even gave examples of questions the liberal justices could have asked today that would at least make it appear that they supported the mandate — but they didn’t ask those questions. In fact, they stayed silent. The sentence I objected to in my OP should have never been written. It is sloppy journalism.

Dark Star on March 27, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Most of us agree that the ultimate goal of the left is universal health care. They considered this a step in that direction because the system would become so expensive that the public would come to them and demand it. Striking the mandate accomplishes that goal at light speed. We have to be aware and plan for what is to come after this victory.

DFCtomm on March 27, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Yep. Severability is really the issue. Strike the mandate, leave the rest intact, and it’s an ultimate win for the bad guys. If the mandate isn’t struck out, it’s also a win for the bad guys.

a capella on March 27, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Except for the fact that silence in this case does indicate support, you have a very good point.

sharrukin on March 27, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Except, I’m not wrong. As I pointed out in my OP the liberal justices could have asked a couple of soft ball questions to the US Attorney to help him out; they could have asked some hard-hitting questions to the states’ attorney to attack his position. That would have made them “appear” to support the mandate that the others “appeared” to attack today. They did neither.

The fact that we all suspect, and it is very likely that they will, support the mandate because of their biases does not equate to they “appeared to support the mandate” during oral arguments today. The word APPEARED here is key. Look it up.

And, btw, just be warned: the fact that Kennedy “appeared” to attack the mandate with his hard-hitting questions today does not mean he will vote against it. Many times justices play devil’s advocate. So Kennedy’s vote is no sure thing just because of today.

Dark Star on March 27, 2012 at 2:44 PM

You great college BS session mensa types never consider the estaction.

Old Country Boy on March 27, 2012 at 2:30 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

Most of us agree that the ultimate goal of the left is universal health care.

DFCtomm on March 27, 2012 at 2:35 PM

The ultimate goal of the left is the elimination of the United States Constitution. To be replaced by the central control of our lives from the “smart people” who know better than we do about how to run our lives. Universal health care is merely a step to that end.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Just yesterday, “angryed” accused me that I get my instructions from FoxNews talk show hosts. Besides being funny since I don’t even have a TV cable, that sounded suspiciously like what someone on Dem payroll would accidentally let out.

Archivarix on March 27, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Just like there are a lot of fools who believe everything Rachel Maddow tells them, there are equally the number who believe everything Rush and Bill O’Reilly tell them. Idiocy knows no political affiliation.

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 2:46 PM

MadisonConservative on March 27, 2012 at 2:21 PM

I’m sure it’s been pointed out that you can’t always count on what should be. Justice Scalia is no spring chicken but it’s okay with me if he lives forever. As for the “shut up and get on my train group” they are a bunch of charmers.

Cindy Munford on March 27, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Could this end up like Bush v Gore, where the fundamental question (the mandate/the shifting standards of the Florida recount) is decided by a clear majority and the 5-4 split on the secondary technical question (severability/deciding not to let Florida have another bite at the apple) gets the media attention?

Otto Zilch on March 27, 2012 at 2:49 PM

The ultimate goal of the left is the elimination of the United States Constitution. To be replaced by the central control of our lives from the “smart people” who know better than we do about how to run our lives. Universal health care is merely a step to that end.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2012 at 2:44 PM

And how is that different than what Romney people want? Romney’s shills have one message: We’re smarter than you, shut up and do as you’re told. It’s incredible how the Mittbots protests everything their boy universally embraces.

You don’t like govt run health care, but support the guy who created govt run health care. You worry about liberal judges yet support the guy who appointed just 25% Republicans to the bench. You worry about spending yet support the guy who increased spending by 26% as governor. You worry about higher taxes, yet support the guy who raised taxes every year while governor.

Mittbots are funny.

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 2:50 PM

To all other buffoons similar to this monkey, can someone explain to me which justice are going to step down or die before 2017? The oldest one on the court is Ginsberg, and if she’s replaced with a liberal, the count will remain unchanged. So it goes for Breyer, who talked about stepping down. This scare tactic about the SCOTUS is empty, and the abusive tone to people who don’t want to vote for a RINO like Romney didn’t work in 2008, nor will it work this time around. Stop acting like union thugs.

MadisonConservative on March 27, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Romney-Tards think that the entire makeup of SCOTUS changes every 4 years with a presidential election.

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Dr Evil on March 27, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Don’t forget we only need 52 votes in the Senate to repeal it.

rockmom on March 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

You forgot about McCain, his sidekick, and the gang of 14?

Then – do you really expect Romney-the sperm donor for Obamacare to destroy his own offspring?

Don L on March 27, 2012 at 2:54 PM

I’m a doctor and for those of you who think this dog and pony show means anything, you are wrong. If this law is shut down the queen of the dept. of health will just implement the whole thing by royal decree just like the queen of the EPA did cap and trade. Congess is irrelevent. We live in a monarchy where congress is just for show.

Redglen on March 27, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Then – do you really expect Romney-the sperm donor for Obamacare to destroy his own offspring?

Don L on March 27, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Idiot alert! Not following “godfather” story in headlines.

Will you guys give this a rest already? I want my IQ points back.

John the Libertarian on March 27, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Just read the transcript, the questioning was just brutal… at one point in response to the Solicitor General’s discussion, Justice Scalia tells him, “We’re not stupid…” Does Scalia usually say that during oral arguments?

WordsMatter on March 27, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Sotomayor just dropped a 1% vrs 99% reference in her question. Something like “nobody, with the exception of maybe 1% of the population can afford healthcare without insurance”

Dash on March 27, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Because, just like with student loans, the government Medicare program has artifically driven up costs. We’re already borrowing our whole Medicare bill every year. If Obamacare is left in place, the United States will be borrowing more every year to pay for health care, until China stops lending the money. Then both the economy and the health care system will crash.

We need to seriously reform both the budget and the health care system now. Obamacare does the opposite, it doubles down on the current flaws in both.

talkingpoints on March 27, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Tweet a few minutes ago from Guy Benson ‏

http://twitter.com/#!/guypbenson/status/184714538434830336

2. Justice Kagan (and to some extent Ginsburg & Breyer) desperately tried to help Virrilli. Kagan was more effective and pithy than he.!

This underscores that Kagan should have recused herself because she was in on reviewing ObamaCare as solicitor general. It’s no wonder she’s more effective than V.

INC on March 27, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Redglen on March 27, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Exactly! This is why we need to get Obama and his minions out and begin to change these agencies from law makers to the support organizations they were intended.

Get rid of these monsters come November. Time to unite the party and fight the bastards.

uhangtight on March 27, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Is it wrong to feel so much pleasure when reading “Obama Administration” and “Train Wreck” in the same sentence?

JohnGalt23 on March 27, 2012 at 3:03 PM

If it’s struck down, President Obama 2009-2017. Guaranteed.

inthemiddle on March 27, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Based on what? The majority of the country want the law struck down. It is an abomination, filled with land mines guaranteed to strip us naked of our freedom. They had to pass it so we could read and find out for ourselves.

I don’t think striking it down will help Obama’s reelection. In fact it removes one of his chief lines of counter-attack against Romney.

totherightofthem on March 27, 2012 at 3:04 PM

I think the conservative Justices must read Hotair and other conservative blogs. They brought to light all the issues we’ve been discussing here and on other blogs for the past four years. In particular, Justice Kennedy got to the very heart of the matter in noting that the law fundamentally changes the relationship between the federal government and the individual. I don’t know how proponents of the law can overcome Kennedy’s concern.

WordsMatter on March 27, 2012 at 3:04 PM

You will please forgive my unabashed confidence that not only SCOTUS, but we the people will (ultimately) do the right thing and preserve our Constitution and Republic.

I am inspired by this good news to think happy, free market thoughts. I’d like to sell large, Pelosi-sized gavels in red, white and blue with the word freedom etched in them.

Maybe send some to SCOTUS between now and June . . .

Opinionator on March 27, 2012 at 3:06 PM

In particular, Justice Kennedy got to the very heart of the matter in noting that the law fundamentally changes the relationship between the federal government and the individual. I don’t know how proponents of the law can overcome Kennedy’s concern.

WordsMatter on March 27, 2012 at 3:04 PM

They embrace that concern. Kagan and Sotomayor are Critical Race Theory apostles. The Constitution means nothing to them – except for oppression.

They embrace a fundamental change of the relationship between the State and the People.

For them, the People are to serve the State – and answer to the State.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 27, 2012 at 3:08 PM

And the problem for the right is that if the mandate is struck down and the left is motivated in the 2012 election, it would actually motivate me to work for the Democrats, then a simple “medicare for all” bill will be proposed and pushed in Congress. And there’s no way to argue that expanding the medicare age requirement to birth is unconstitutional. That is ultimately my goal.

libfreeordie on March 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

False.

If SCOTUS strikes this down, it is quite probably going to be open season on a host of other questionable govt. programs. I, for one, will be overjoyed to finally see progressives receive their comeuppance, and gnash and wail as everything they’ve painstakingly built upon for the last 70 years starts to crash down upon them.

spinach.chin on March 27, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I think the conservative Justices must read Hotair and other conservative blogs. They brought to light all the issues we’ve been discussing here and on other blogs for the past four years. In particular, Justice Kennedy got to the very heart of the matter in noting that the law fundamentally changes the relationship between the federal government and the individual. I don’t know how proponents of the law can overcome Kennedy’s concern.

WordsMatter on March 27, 2012 at 3:04 PM

I think you are right about that. The only chance for the mandate to survive was if the Justices and especially Kennedy could view it as something that was not very radical but just the best policy option to solve a national problem. Kennedy has telegraphed that upholding this law may in fact be more radical than overturning it.

rockmom on March 27, 2012 at 3:12 PM

I believe that honest leftism is better than moderate liberal crap. And more persuasive, if argued honestly.

libfreeordie on March 27, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Define what “honest leftism” is.

And then define what “moderate liberalism” is.

This should be fascinating. After all, the words “honest”
and “Leftism” have never been used before together; it’s a total impossibility.

After all, Leftists have to Lie about who they are; hence they don’t call themselves “liberals”, they call themselves “progressives”.

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2012 at 3:14 PM

WordsMatter on March 27, 2012 at 3:04 PM

I don’t think it’s necessary for them to read here or elsewhere to realize the problems. They’re smart and critical thinkers and are more than capable of coming to these conclusions on their own.

INC on March 27, 2012 at 3:16 PM

In answer to Pelosi; YES, we are serious.

I like the question of creating commerce to regulate it.

Jabberwock on March 27, 2012 at 1:01 PM

To me, that was the most significant question/statement by Kennedy. The other two are just fluff. A statist can always justify a “fundamental change in the relationship between government and the individual” and that statement didn’t even require a real response if that is the way Kennedy will go.

The question about creating commerce is interesting since, if government creates it, it is, by definition, no longer commerce and therefore the commerce clause would not provide the justification for it.

totherightofthem on March 27, 2012 at 3:20 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

Both have a history of appointing radical left wing judges. Both will continue to do so.

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Romney appointed 2 Judges who turned out to be gay. He did not know they were gay when he appointed them, because he never asked them if they were gay when he was selecting them. Is that a Crime?

Please name all of the Judges Romney appointed as MA Governor, and please identify by names and rulings which of them you consider “radical left wing”.

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM

“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.”

There’s no defending the indefensible.

sadatoni on March 27, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Just thought of something …
if ruled constitutional, will we hear the left campaign with :
“elect us, or a ruthless GOP Sec of HHS could mandate you do/buy whatever he/she demands! ”

Wait, what ??

pambi on March 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM

stukinIL4now on March 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM

That’s usual. I don’t think he’s asked a question in several years.

INC on March 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM

For every idiot who sat home and sulked in 2008, or plans to sit home and sulk in 2012, go punch yourself in the groin.

swamp_yankee on March 27, 2012 at 1:00 PM

To all other buffoons similar to this monkey, can someone explain to me which justice are going to step down or die before 2017? The oldest one on the court is Ginsberg, and if she’s replaced with a liberal, the count will remain unchanged. So it goes for Breyer, who talked about stepping down. This scare tactic about the SCOTUS is empty, and the abusive tone to people who don’t want to vote for a RINO like Romney didn’t work in 2008, nor will it work this time around. Stop acting like union thugs.

MadisonConservative on March 27, 2012 at 2:21 PM

I personally wish no one at least on the side of conservatism would sit out any election,.. but,.. I hate it when folks say if you do A B or C, you’re Obama’s BBF and the worst est traitor in all human history.. It’s pure demagoguery, and unnecessary. People, if you believe our own principles..; have the right to freedom of choice.. the right to make up their own minds, according to their own conscience.

If you believe that,..

Wether you vote or not, that’s your right and your choice, but I wish you’d reconsider Madison Conservative.

We’ll need every vote, and I still have my concerns about Romney, even if I vote for him despite those concerns. If it’s struck down, the fight isn’t over, but I’ll feel a little better about it. I depend on modern medicine quite a bit, and after seeing how Workers Comp can fiddle f*ck anything, single payer is also a nitemare option.

We really need you..

mark81150 on March 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM

“Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?”

Not that I care. I’m gonna vote with the leftists, I just need cover. -Justice Kennedy

mankai on March 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Lost in Jersey on March 27, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Exactly. The plan from day one was to get to single payer, by hook or by crook. Striking down the mandate but not the remainder of the law would destroy insurance companies, providing there are teeth in the law to force them to comply. I can certainly see extended litigation arising out of that scenario. No one is better at making paying work for themselves and their colleagues than lawyer legislators.

totherightofthem on March 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM

To all other buffoons similar to this monkey, can someone explain to me which justice are going to step down or die before 2017?

And you’re calling others buffoons? Umm, no…no one can tell you that. That’s kind of the point. I didn’t realize death was an impossibility for any of the justices before 2017.

The oldest one on the court is Ginsberg, and if she’s replaced with a liberal, the count will remain unchanged. So it goes for Breyer, who talked about stepping down. This scare tactic about the SCOTUS is empty, and the abusive tone to people who don’t want to vote for a RINO like Romney didn’t work in 2008, nor will it work this time around. Stop acting like union thugs.

MadisonConservative

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. The same with Breyer. Until that happens, we’re never going to undo some of the things that need to be undone to get this country back on track.

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

Is it wrong to feel so much pleasure when reading “Obama Administration” and “Train Wreck” in the same sentence?

JohnGalt23 on March 27, 2012 at 3:03 PM

nahhh..

I’ve been putting the two together subconsciously for years.. haven’t been struck by lightning yet.

mark81150 on March 27, 2012 at 3:28 PM

“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.”
There’s no defending the indefensible.

sadatoni on March 27, 2012 at 3:24 PM

The Solicitor General’s speech pattern is halting and confused. He seems out of his league. The spokesperson for the other side was smooth and articulate by comparison. The SG got his butt whipped today.

WordsMatter on March 27, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Mittbots are funny.

angryed on March 27, 2012 at 2:50 PM

You RDS folks are even funnier, because you keep having to Lie about the guy’s record as MA Governor.

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2012 at 3:29 PM

And the problem for the right is that if the mandate is struck down and the left is motivated in the 2012 election, it would actually motivate me to work for the Democrats

libfreeordie on March 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

You found a job you can do from your couch. We’re terrified.

Chuck Schick on March 27, 2012 at 3:33 PM

People, if you believe our own principles..; have the right to freedom of choice.. the right to make up their own minds, according to their own conscience

Give me a break. Freedom of choice isn’t freedom from consequence.
People can decide whatever they want, but just because they have the freedom to do that doesn’t mean they are above criticism, nor does it make that criticism any less true. If you choose a path that allows Obama to get re-elected, you are part of the problem. Having the freedom to be an idiot doesn’t absolve you of that guilt.

xblade on March 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

I just listened to the entire oral arguments today and am NOT encouraged. Roberts seems to buy into the argument that everyone is already in the healthcare market so Congress is within its power to regulate it. He did not seem to see the distinction between regulating commerce and compelling someone to enter commerce, except for the fact that there are those who will not use maternity or pediatric care who are being compelled to purchase the coverage of it. I am not encouraged at all.

txmomof6 on March 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

What a great day. I hope the tea-leaf readers are right on this one.

LASue on March 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Womb to tomb coverage with all the efficiency of the DMV.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2012 at 1:14 PM

And their slogan? “We help you get there faster!”

dominigan on March 27, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Actually, something entirely different might happen when health insurance companies go out of business. The whole new class of insurance enterprise may emerge, possibly as an offspring of home-insurance business, that deals exclusively with a predefined set of catastrophic health events. Due to their narrow coverage scope, state and federal governments will find it much harder to regulate them to death. Eventually, such enterprises will outlast indemnity and HMO bureaucratic dinosaurs and become what health insurance should have become in the first place.

Archivarix on March 27, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Absolutely correct. People should be able to purchase reasonably priced insurance for catastrophic medical events, much like car insurance. Car insurance doesn’t cover oil changes, and neither should health insurance. People should have to pay $50 for a doctor’s appointment — that’s reasonable and it will put limits on those folks who head to the doctor every time they sneeze, because, after all, it’s free! Serious injury or illness should not bankrupt anyone, but at the same time, routine health care services should have market prices and doctors should be in competition to produce the best care at the best prices. The same goes for prescriptions. Why should insurance companies have to pay for prescriptions that come in under $20 or so? It’s ridiculous. It’s been ridiculous for a long, long time. If insurance companies stop paying for over-priced routine care and prescriptions, the prices will come down. It’s that simple.

I just listened to the entire oral arguments today and am NOT encouraged. Roberts seems to buy into the argument that everyone is already in the healthcare market so Congress is within its power to regulate it. He did not seem to see the distinction between regulating commerce and compelling someone to enter commerce, except for the fact that there are those who will not use maternity or pediatric care who are being compelled to purchase the coverage of it. I am not encouraged at all.

txmomof6 on March 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Yes. Roberts is the wild card here, not Kennedy. Roberts likes him some big government, much more so than Kennedy does.

Rational Thought on March 27, 2012 at 3:41 PM

please please please please PLEASE let it be so.

minnesoter on March 27, 2012 at 3:43 PM

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