Sens. John Barrasso, John Thune, Kelly Ayotte and Mike Lee hold a news conference of the third day of the Supreme Court's oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act.
“I am glad, as I think any of us who practice law are, to see the intense questions from the justices,” Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said. “They’re engaged and thoughtfully working through these issues. But questions are a legitimate way of probing the basis of their own thinking. They are not an indication of a judgment made or a vote ready to be cast.”
Kerry, noting he worked on the law as a senior member of the Finance Committee, said that during the drafting, “we worked with some of the brightest and thoughtful and experienced Constitutional lawyers in order to make sure that the law was constitutional.”
He said he’s confident “they will decide they don’t want to go back to a nation where you get cancer and you get a letter from your insurance company telling you you’re no longer covered.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), meanwhile, appeared to set the stage to attack the court’s decision if they vote the law down.
Blumenthal noted that the court has to presume the law is constitutional.
To overturn the law, “the court would have to stretch, it would have to abandon and completely overrule a lot of modern precedent, which would do grave damage to this court in credibility and power,” he said. “The court commands no army, it has no money, it depends for its power on its credibility and its reputation. Ultimately, people obey it because it has that credibility, and the court risks grave damage if it strikes down a statute of this magnitude and importance.”
He said that, as someone who has argued cases before the court, at least three justices haven’t made up their mind: “I think all of the predictions are worth what you’re paying for them, they mean nothing at this point.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.