I’m not knocking her for her prediction — she thinks it’ll be 6-3 to uphold, as do I — but I can’t get over this bit. Did a politician who’ll forever be infamous for responding to a question about the constitutionality of the mandate by stammering “are you serious?” really say this?
She was then asked why she was so confident about her prediction, “Do you have a crystal ball or what is your confidence — you wrote the bill but why do you have this confidence?”
Pelosi said: “Because I know the Constitution. This bill is ironclad. It is ironclad.”
“Nobody was frivolous with the Constitution and the health of the American people in writing the bill,” she said. “So, that’s where my confidence springs from, the merit of the bill and the nature of the Constitution.”
The bill is “ironclad”? The same bill that we had to pass in order to find out what’s in it, which strangely ended up having no boilerplate severability clause even though that might force the Supreme Court to strike down the entire law instead of just the mandate? Hello?
Something else here intrigues me. Two months ago, after oral arguments, Pelosi sounded a lot less confident that the law would be upheld. Now, suddenly, she’s in take-it-to-the-bank mode. What changed? Could be that she’s simply engaged in raising expectations so that, if the Court does strike down the law, their decision will seem less legitimate. Could also be that she’s been briefed by a lefty law professor or two in the interim on the constitutional ins and outs and is now preaching the gospel of limitless Commerce Clause power. Or, for the ultimate cloak-and-dagger speculation, could be that someone inside the Court has leaked the decision to her and she’s now busy making herself look like a sage in anticipation of the announcement. I’m skeptical about that last possibility, though, especially since Senate Republicans have been inching out on the political limb in preparation for ObamaCare being struck down:
Sen. Roy Blunt (MO), vice chair of the Senate GOP Conference, offered a ringing defense of the “Obamacare” under-26 provision, and said he wouldn’t oppose ideas he previously supported simply because President Obama adopted them.
“I believe that’s one of the things that the Congress would surely reinstate,” Blunt told the St. Louis radio station KTRS in an interview last Thursday, pointing out that he has offered similar legislation in the past. “It’s a way to get a significant number of the uninsured into an insurance group without much cost. … It’s one of the things I think should continue.”
“I’ve been in a couple meetings lately and there’s some general understanding that that’s one of the things … and there are other things like that as well,” the senator added.
A GOP health aide explained the strategy on the shift: “Come up with a plan and come up with a plan quick to deal with popular … provisions. An interesting twist will be money spent and continued implementation. There could be a deal struck on those two issues as well.”
If there’s a leak, apparently only one side of the aisle is privy to it, as Blunt would never invite this sort of trouble from the base unless he was thinking seriously about having to replace a nullified law with something new. I doubt there’s a leak, though: The Court and its clerks have been amazingly good about keeping decisions under wraps, even under the most intense political pressure. (E.g., Bush v. Gore.) I think she’s just talking tough because there’s really no downside to doing so. If the law is upheld, she looks like a genius; if it isn’t, she gets to scream that democracy’s been cheated on what should have been an easy decision. Click the image to watch.