Yesterday's oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court went well for opponents of President Obama's health care law. "The government had in my view as bad a day as it reasonably could," the founder of SCOTUSblog says. "It won't cause the government to have a complete cardiac arrest—they'll just be nauseous for months." But here's what Politico is taking out of the proceedings, as today's final arguments loom:
- It's Roberts or Kennedy: If Obama's going to get a fifth vote, it's going to be from John Roberts or Anthony Kennedy—and both sounded skeptical of the individual mandate yesterday.
- No mandates for broccoli: If liberals want a shot to get either Roberts or Kennedy, they'll have to craft an argument that closes the door on government mandates for other products—say leafy greens, gym memberships, or even cell phones—in what Sonia Sotomayor termed a "parade of horribles."
- Donald Verrilli sort of blew it: The solicitor general stumbled out of the gate, and while it wasn't a total disaster, liberal justices sometimes had to jump in to reframe his arguments. Opposing litigator Paul Clement, meanwhile, gave "the argument of his life," one observer said.
- So much for conventional wisdom: Legal pundits had been saying for months that the Court would breezily uphold the law—former solicitor general Charles Fried said he'd eat his hat if it was struck down. He may want to keep some ketchup handy, Politico notes.
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