Tick tock: Minute-by-minute replay of Supreme Court's historic health ruling

Tick tock: Minute-by-minute replay of Supreme Court's historic health ruling

The Supreme Court’s stunning decision to uphold President Obama’s healthcare reform law triggered both celebrations and outrage from members of Congress and political activists.

While Obama and GOP officials offered strikingly different reactions to the ruling, they agreed that it raises the stakes for the November elections. 

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Thursday morning’s ruling sparked confusion amid conflicting reports on what the high court had decided. That uncertainty turned to elation for some, and despair for others, as it became clear the individual mandate — and with it, the majority of the healthcare law — had survived.

A minute-by-minute breakdown of the day’s events follows.

9:48 a.m.: Tensions run high during a House Appropriations markup as lawmakers obsessively check their iPads, paying little attention to a debate on greenhouse gas standards. Members shouting “let’s turn on the TV” are ignored.

9:55 a.m.: Thousands of people await the ruling outside the court, including belly dancers and a man dressed up as the Grim Reaper. Many in the crowd are carrying signs, such as “Keep your ovaries off my rosaries” and “We need universal healthcare.”

9:57 a.m.: Sen. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonOvernight Healthcare: Senate votes to begin ObamaCare repeal debate | McCain returns to vote | GOP floats scaled-down healthcare bill MSNBC ‘Cartoon of the Day’ shows McCain lying in hospital bed McCain returns to applause, casts deciding vote to advance healthcare bill MORE (R-Wis.), in shirtsleeves and a tie, is spotted on the sidewalk outside the Supreme Court.

9:58 a.m.: Justices take their seats in the courtroom.

10:07 a.m.: Chief Justice John Roberts starts to read the decision.

10:08 a.m.: Runners for the television networks sprint out across the Supreme Court steps with the healthcare opinion in hand.

10:09 a.m.: CNN issues an email news alert stating the court has struck down the individual mandate. 

10:09 a.m.: Some Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Virginia FoxxVirginia FoxxCongress must act to protect local businesses from joint employer scheme The Hill's 12:30 Report House urged to ‘go ugly early’ MORE (N.C.) and Dennis Ross (Fla.), tout the court’s ruling via Twitter. They later delete their tweets. 

10:09 a.m.: Confusion reigns on the  news networks as it is reported that the individual mandate has been struck down. There are cheers outside the Supreme Court. CNN and Fox News retract initial headlines as SCOTUSblog reports that individual mandate has survived — as a tax.

10:14 a.m.: It becomes clear that Roberts has joined the liberal justices to uphold the healthcare law. 

10:15 a.m.: Patrick Gaspard, executive director of the Democratic National Committee, tweets, “it’s constitutional. Bitches.” He later tweets that he let his “excitement get the better of me.” 

10:15 a.m.: Sen. John KerryJohn KerrySenators who have felt McCain's wrath talk of their respect for him Dems see huge field emerging to take on Trump Budowsky: Dems need council of war MORE (D-Mass.) interrupts his Law of the Sea Treaty hearing to announce the ruling.

10:20 a.m.: A smiling former Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) is seen outside the court. He later greets his former colleagues on the House floor. 

10:21 a.m.: Rep. Cynthia LummisCynthia LummisFemale lawmakers flee House for higher office, retirement Despite a battle won, 'War on Coal' far from over Dems on offense in gubernatorial races MORE (R-Wyo.) is visibly shaken by the ruling: “I know it is a 200-page decision, I know it’s confusing. All I can tell you right now is, whatever’s left of it, I’m going to try to repeal in its entirety.”

10:22 a.m.: Spokesman Adam Jentleson comes racing down the marble stairs from the third floor of the Capitol to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West MORE’s (D-Nev.) office and flashes a triumphant salute to two reporters staking out the hallway outside the chamber.

10:22 a.m.: Juan Williams, a columnist for The Hill, says on Fox News that it is a “big day for the Obama administration.”

10:26 a.m.: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweets, “Just elect Romney. We need #FullRepeal” 

10:30 a.m.: Rep. Sean DuffySean DuffyOvernight Finance: GOP offers measure to repeal arbitration rule | Feds fine Exxon M for Russian sanctions violations | Senate panel sticks with 2017 funding levels for budget | Trump tax nominee advances | Trump unveils first reg agenda Realtors endorse House flood insurance extension The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Wis.) takes video of the Supreme Court crowds with his cellphone. 

10:33 a.m.: Asked for a response to the ruling, Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanOPINION | Healthcare vote a political death wish for GOP in 2018 The one part of ObamaCare that must be repealed now Senate Dems warn they will block recess appointments MORE (R-Wis.), clutching his phone, says, “I’m typing it right now” before heading into the men’s room.

10:33 a.m.: Said Rep. Kevin BradyKevin BradyMnuchin meets with agriculture groups on tax reform GOP-controlled Congress nears legislative triumph — on Russia Healthcare debacle raises pressure for GOP on taxes MORE (R-Texas): “I think it will give President Obama a boost in the short term. … It will motivate a lot of independents and Republicans to go to the polls because we know now the only way to overturn [the ruling] is at the election box.”

10:33 a.m.: Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.): “This is not something that gives the president a green light. I think this was the worst-case situation for him.”

10:33 a.m.: Pressed on what the ruling means politically, Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) responds, “I’m not smart enough to tell you that.”

10:35 a.m.: Sprinklers go off on the lawn outside the Supreme Court as water starts falling on television equipment, sending network staffers scrambling to get their gear out of harm’s way.

10:38 a.m.: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): “This decision is a victory for the American people.”

10:41 a.m.: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer notes that Obama had denied the mandate was a tax during the congressional debate on healthcare reform.

10:41 a.m.: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) tweets: “Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn’t a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.”

10:44 a.m.: On the Senate floor, Reid says, “I’m happy, I’m pleased, that the Supreme Court put the rule of law ahead of partisanship.”

10:46 a.m.: Pelosi and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) hug each other in the Capitol.

10:54 a.m.: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSenate Dem: We’re trying to block a recess appointment to replace Sessions Trump predicts 'problems' for those voting against ObamaCare repeal Overnight Defense: House passes Russia sanctions deal | McCain returns to Senate | Watchdog opens criminal probe into M camo mistake MORE (R-Ky.): “Well, the Supreme Court has spoken. This law is a tax. The bill was sold to the American people on a deception.”

10:59 a.m.: CNN reports “elation” at the White House.

11 a.m.: A suspicious package briefly closes the Capitol exits nearest to the court, forcing tourists and reporters to leave the Capitol Visitor Center through a tunnel that leads to the Library of Congress.

11:01 a.m.: The court recesses.

11:11 a.m.: House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorSpecial interests hide behind vets on Independence Day What to watch for in Comey’s testimony Trump nominates two new DOD officials MORE (R-Va.) announces that the House will vote to repeal the law on July 11.

11:15 a.m.: The Senate Judiciary Committee postpones a panel markup after Republicans fail to show up to provide a quorum. GOP lawmakers are busy giving television interviews responding to the landmark decision.

11:21 a.m.: Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) flashes a peace sign to cameras assembled for a Democratic presser. 

11:27 a.m.: Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson-LeeHouse committee advances budget resolution Dems launch ‘no confidence’ resolution against Trump House Democrats offer to set agenda for Trump-Putin meeting MORE (D-Texas) high-fives supporters outside the court.

11:35 a.m.: Jackson Lee, fed up with Tea Party speeches blaring from a nearby speaker, yells, “Insanity!” A critic of the healthcare law responds that the electoral power of Tea Party activists will “blow your minds” in November.

11:45 a.m.: Rep. Michele BachmannMichele BachmannBachmann: Muslim immigrants trying to undermine Western civilization Religious leaders pray over Trump in Oval Office 'Real Housewives' producer 'begging' Conway to join cast MORE (R-Minn.) criticizes ruling from an “activist” court, says law can be repealed if House and Senate have GOP majorities and Mitt Romney is in the White House.

11: 45 a.m.: During a press conference with the U.S. Capitol as the back drop, Romney said, “ObamaCare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. ObamaCare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today.”

11:48 a.m.: CNN apologizes for its initial reporting on the individual mandate.

12:03 p.m.: Rep. Joe WilsonJoe WilsonObama left nuclear waste in South Carolina, Trump can clean it up Congress to take up North Korea travel ban legislation as soon as next month: report An unlikely home in DC MORE (R-S.C.) on the House floor: “The decision reveals ObamaCare is a huge tax increase on middle-class taxpayers, destroying jobs.”

12:15 p.m.: From the White House, Obama calls the decision a “victory for people all over this country.” He said he didn’t pursue healthcare reform because it was “good politics,” and added, “I did it because I believed it was good for the country.”

1:35 p.m.: At a press conference, House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerBoehner on Trump tweets: He gets 'into a pissing match with a skunk' every day Boehner predicts GOP will 'never' repeal, replace ObamaCare Sudan sanctions spur intense lobbying MORE (R-Ohio) said the ruling would “strengthen [the] resolve” of the GOP to repeal the law entirely.

2:02 p.m.: Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) touts a cardboard “Obama-Roberts 2012” sign, displaying it to reporters in the Speaker’s Lobby just off the House floor.

2:08 p.m.: House approves the rule for the two resolutions related to contempt charges against Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderManafort heads for Senate showdown after subpoena Holder: Voting commission's Kobach is a 'fact-challenged zealot' Holder defends Mueller: 'No basis to question the integrity of Mueller' MORE. Healthcare ruling is mentioned during the floor debate.

3 p.m.: Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Congress could still repeal the law: “Nothing done by one Congress can’t be undone by another." He added there is “no question” the ruling gives the president the upper hand in the November election.


Contributors to this article include Sam Baker, Sterling Beard, Bernie Becker, Russell Berman, Kevin Bogardus, Alexander Bolton, Alicia M. Cohn, Bob Cusack, Jonathan Easley, Ben Geman, Emily Goodin, Jeremy Herb, Molly K. Hooper, Cameron Joseph, Pete Kasperowicz, Rachel Leven, Mike Lillis, Vicki Needham, Julian Pecquet, Debbie Siegelbaum, Jennifer Smola, Niall Stanage, Daniel Strauss, Ian Swanson, Erik Wasson, Elise Viebeck and Jordy Yager.