Both sides of the American political spectrum have hilariously overreacted to the inept presentation made before the Supreme Court by Obama’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. Verrilli’s role in such a hearing is to provide some justification regarding the constitutionality of Obamacare but he sounded like a poorly-prepared 12 year old reading his book report to the class.
Liberal pundits have been uproariously downbeat about Verrilli’s universally panned performance and Conservative pundits have been just as uproariously upbeat about it. They all feel that his poor presentation may have doomed Obamacare, with each side elated or despairing over that perception.
For a quick example from both sides, Liberal propoganda publication Mother Jones fretted that Verrilli’s inept performance could well “serve as the epitaph” for Obamacare while Conservative propoganda broadcaster Michael Medved was positively jubilant over the criticism of Verrilli’s arguments, calling it ” a positive sign for Obamacare being struck down.” This establishes how little they all know about how the United States Supreme Court functions.
In reality, the arguments made in person before the Court are just barely more than a formality. This is not a conventional courtroom case where jurors, or in this case, the Justices “decide who has the better lawyer” as the old joke goes. The Supreme Court issues rulings that become the law of the land, they don’t hear individual cases where a slick lawyer can schmooze their way to success. That means THEY ARE NOT LIMITED BY WHAT WAS SAID OR PRESENTED DURING THE ARGUMENTS IN COURT WHEN THEY MAKE THEIR RULINGS!
The Supreme Court Justices will personally become the advocates for or against Obamacare. They will cite precedents from other cases, they will have access to Amicus Briefs filed by outside parties on both sides of the issue, and they will use highly detailed legal memos to each other to try to persuade their colleagues to strike down or uphold Obamacare. (They may even strike down some parts and uphold others, as they often do with complicated legislation, and this may be just the first of many cases involving Obamacare that the Justices wind up hearing.)
Lionel Hutz could have been the Solicitor General and his presentation would still not have “doomed Obamacare.” Whatever legal arguments among the nine Justices win at least five votes will be what either dooms or prolongs Obamacare. Read as much Supreme Court history as you like and you’ll encounter these facts over and over. Oral presentations attract a lot of attention but are just dog and pony shows. Some Justices of the past have even indicated they enjoy toying a little with the lawyers arguing cases before them by nailing them for artless statements or shabbily-constructed positions but the court’s rulings are not based on those antics.
Michael Medved seemed to think it was a “terrible sign” for Obamacare’s chances that some of the Liberal Justices made stronger arguments in support of Obamacare than Verrilli was capable of conjuring up. Wrong, Michael. All it did was provide a public preview of the type of arguments those Justices will be using with their colleagues behind closed doors.
As funny as Medved’s optimism was, the despairing attitude of people like the writers at Mother Jones was even funnier. That’s because Liberal Pundits like to pretend they are the country’s official “intellectuals” in the same way that Conservative pundits like to pretend they are the country’s official “patriots.” The fact that Liberal pundits are so clueless about their own country’s Supreme Court is hilarious, but typical. Liberal pundits are usually every bit as uninformed as Conservative pundits but are much more pretentious.
I still remember when network commentators in 1992 were fretting over Ross Perot’s candidacy and were saying that if he won enough votes in the Electoral College to send the election to the House of Representatives it would be the first time in history that it happened. Wrong! It happened a few times in the early years of the republic and the country survived it just fine. American pundits from both sides are very ignorant of history but it never stops them from putting on ridiculous airs.
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