By Mike Lillis - 03/28/12 06:16 PM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) said Wednesday that Democrats will accept the Supreme Court's ruling on her party's healthcare law — whatever it is.
The California liberal –- a champion of the bill who was crucial to its passage -– said Democrats "were careful to honor the Constitution" in drafting the bill, but would respect the high-court's verdict, however it falls.
"This is part of our constitutional process, and we respect it," she added.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard its third day of arguments on the Democrats' healthcare law, which critics have blasted as unconstitutional since the early stages of the reform debate three years ago. The court is examining the legality of the law's individual insurance mandate, its broad Medicaid expansion and whether one element of the legislation can be repealed without eliminating the entire sweeping statute.
Based on Tuesday's arguments, which focused on the insurance mandate, a number of legal experts have predicted the conservative-leaning court will rule against that central element of the bill.
Pelosi on Wednesday said she feels "pretty good about the merits of the case," but was quick to add that any speculation is just that.
Asked to predict the outcome, she said, "I have no idea –- none of us does."
"We are all now talking about something of which we have no knowledge because we're not members of the Supreme Court," Pelosi said. "We have knowledge of the legislation, we have knowledge of the arguments, but we have no idea what the outcome will be."
Breaking with Pelosi, Rep. John Conyers (Mich.), senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, stuck his neck out to predict the high court would come down 5 to 4 in favor of the insurance mandate at the heart of the controversy.
Addressing a reporter who suggested otherwise, Conyers said, "I'll be checking with you in June to see which one of us were correct."
— This story was updated at 7:36 p.m.