Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

When I listened to the audio of today’s argument, my first thought was “Why is the Government letting a 1L argue this case?”

Oh, wait–that was Donald Verrilli, the Solicitor General.  He stumbled over his words, reached for a glass of water after 45 seconds, and couldn’t grab the lifelines thrown to him by friendly Justices. What a terrible job.  (On top of the fact that yesterday he got “tax” and “penalty” confused.)  It reminds me of the story about one of FDR’s early SGs who was so bad that some of the Justices informally advised the White House that they’d better get somebody else if they wanted to win.

On the substance, I’ll have more to say soon.

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3 Responses

  1. nidefatt says:

    I get the feeling you’re right, though lots of people on the right are praising Verrilli, it’s probably because they’re trying to be nice. How does one allow health insurance, which is at its essence about dealing with the risk of one day requiring health care one cannot afford, to simply be labeled a “commercial good” and then try to argue on those grounds? Insurance is not, strictly speaking, a good, like broccoli or emergency services. It’s a mechanism for dealing with risk! It cannot be properly compared to a good! His goofball response that “no it’s different because eventually you’re need health care” is idiotic. Why is someone with no understanding of insurance arguing this case??

  2. Daniel says:

    I was in the Court. Verrilli’s opening was bizarre. There was some palm-wiping, and I had the sense that the sip of water had nothing to do with a scratchy throat.