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The Supreme Court Waiting Game: Defiance, Politicking, and ’80s Playlist

Both sides in the fight over ObamaCare converged upon Washington on the second day of arguments as lawmakers watched and planned.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

March 27, 2012 - 10:22 pm

Over on the lawn outside the Senate, Democrats were giving a less musical defense of the health-care law as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) milled with a few others nearby while curious tourists streamed past.

“Opponents are basing their arguments on politics instead of precedence,” Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) lamented to reporters.

Harkin, who was joined by Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), predicted “this court can go no other way than to uphold the individual mandate.”

He also challenged Republicans to use ObamaCare in the 2012 campaign.

“Make our day,” Harkin said. “Continue to go out and campaign against this health-care bill.”

As soon as the Democrats left the podium, a pack of Senate Republicans swooped in, joined by several of the state attorneys general challenging the law and led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who decried “the single worst piece of legislation passed since I’ve been in Congress.”

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) reflected the upbeat mood of the pack. “I would say the government had a tough day,” he said.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) predicted that a mandate found to be unconstitutional “will make this whole law unconstitutional.” Her Texas colleague, Republican Sen. John Cornyn, reiterated the mantra “as government grows, individual freedom shrinks.”

Florida Republican Marco Rubio linked the health-care law to job losses. “ObamaCare has been a disaster for America,” he said. “Thousands of businesses are afraid to grow or hire new people.”

Rubio repeated his full remarks in Spanish. When he left the press conference, a chunk of the press corps broke away to chase after the senator.

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