“This issue has been around far too long,” he said, “and while I believe it’s important for us to secure our borders and to enforce our laws, I think a comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I’m confident that the president, myself, others, can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”
The comments were an effort by the Speaker to get out in front on immigration and a major shift for the party that’s stood firmly in the way of any legislative action on immigration.”
Verrilli’s performance was baffling. His job—officially—is to make legal arguments to courts. He seems really bad at it.
Verrilli was completely unprepared. He knew factoids about health care and health insurance, but he never connected them to anything. He never even made an argument. He never said, “The mandate is a valid exercise of the commerce clause because…” He never said, “Congress can regulate health insurance because…” And he absolutely never said, “The PPACA is constitutional because…” It was implicit that he believed these things, but only because he works for the Obama Administration. He never provided any reason why a disinterested party should believe the PPACA is constitutional.
Verrilli wasn’t even ready for simple questions. Justice Scalia nailed him to the wall early on by simply asking why the insurance mandate exists at all. That stumped Verrilli. Justice Ginsburg had to teach him all that stuff I mentioned. She knows this issue pretty well. Maybe she should be solicitor general.
It wasn’t just Ginsburg who knew the material better than the man getting paid to argue it. Even Clarence Thomas demonstrated a stronger grasp through his habitual silence. Five times, Verrilli found himself so flummoxed that he just stammered until one of the justices threw him a lifeline or reminded him of the constitutional basis for his argument.
Once the Court realized Verrilli had nothing to say, they used him as a ventriloquist dummy. Through Verrilli, the Court talked to itself about the Constitution and healthcare and broccoli. He was not so much a lawyer as a legal spirit medium.”