Reid slams Toobin, says justices’ tough questions don't mean law’s demise

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said tough questions from Supreme Court justices did not indicate how the court would rule, and took to task a legal analyst who said otherwise.

Reid reacted to CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin’s remark that the healthcare law “looks like it’s going to be struck down” because of the tenor of the morning’s hearing.

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“I’ve been in court a lot more than Jeffrey Toobin and I had arguments, federal, circuit, Supreme Court and hundreds of times before trial courts,” Reid said. “And the questions you get from the judges doesn’t mean that’s what’s going to wind up with the opinion.” 

Toobin said earlier in the day that the 2010 healthcare reform law, which Reid ushered through the Senate two years ago, was “in grave, grave trouble.”

“I’m telling you, all of the predictions, including mine, that the justices would not have a problem with this law were wrong,” Toobin said on CNN.

Reid said he thought the solicitor general did a good job defending the law.

“We know it’s going to be a close opinion. But we don’t know how close it’s going to be,” Reid said. “I think that the argument went just fine and the court has not made up their mind what they’re going to do.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who attended Tuesday’s proceedings, told reporters he expected the court to uphold the individual mandate, which requires people to be covered by a health insurance plan.

“On the question of constitutionality today, it’s very obvious that if this law is unconstitutional then tomorrow someone can come in and attack Social Security for the same reason and that would be unconstitutional,” Leahy told reporters.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) also expressed confidence.

“I am convinced after listening to the two hours this morning that this court can go no other way but to uphold the individual mandate that the Congress has put into the Affordable Care Act,” Harkin said.

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