by Jeremy Leaming
Earlier this year after U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. took to the Supreme Court to defend the Obama administration’s landmark health care reform law and argue against portions of Arizona’s rigid anti-immigrant law, some pundits scored Verrilli for apparently dropping the ball, so-to-speak. After the oral argument in the Arizona case, the Drudge Report claimed “Obama’s Lawyer Chokes Again.” And from the left Adam Serwer in a piece for Mother Jones said Verrilli (pictured) seemed unprepared for defending the Affordable Care Act, saying he appeared to advance only “jargon and talking points.”
At the time there was some push back, including this ACSblog post, against the trashing of Verrilli’s work. Andrew Pincus, a partner at Mayer Brown, scoffed at the criticism telling MSNBC that oral argument very rarely plays a major factor in determining the outcome of cases before the high court.
But in a much more thoughtful and in-depth piece for SCOTUSblog, distinguished law professor Alan B. Morrison explains why figuring out Supreme Court wins is not a simple endeavor.
For example, Morrison, the Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest and Public Service Law at GW, notes the complexity of the case involving the ACA – there were multiple issues at play in that one.