I won’t recap every nuance of the argument, but here’s a flavor of it and why I left the courtroom cautiously optimistic.
Even getting into the courtroom was a much harder ticket than it was the first day of arguments — at least for the savvy members of the Supreme Court bar, for whom there’s a separate line (which I have been using, thanks to the generous line‐standing of Cato and Daily Caller interns).
Once in there, the room quickly filled with senators — I noted a quorum of the judiciary committee — congressmen, public officials (including Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius) and assorted other legal luminaries.
It was a veritable Washington who’s who. The politicians preened for the press, the press craned their necks to note the attendees for their coverage, and we bar members, even those of us who frequent the court, took in the spectacle. Something was different today: To paraphrase Joe Biden, this case was a big deal, and everyone knew it.
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli did not start well, enduring a nervous, awkward opening and then a barrage of questions picking apart the government’s position that it could require people to buy health insurance because everyone is already in the health care market, and because uncompensated care shifts costs onto taxpayers: