Verrilli shrugs off criticism of his healthcare arguments

Verrilli was generally tight-lipped at the Heritage event, where he appeared on a panel with conservative lawyers -- including Jones Day partner Michael Carvin, who argued part of the case against the healthcare law.

Carvin defended Verrilli, saying high-profile cases bring an added level of scrutiny to lawyers who have to think on their feet during oral arguments.

"It's real easy to sit at home and parse every part of your sentences," Carvin said.

He also said he thought liberal pundits were overly confident in their case and expected a slam-dunk that no one in Verrilli's position could have delivered.

"The guys who are in the arena are always going to get a disproportionate amount of artillery shells shot at them, and 99 percent of the time it's completely unfair, and that was my perception of what happened," Carvin said.