Martin Bashir | March 27, 2012
>>> the oral arguments really move the justices one way or the other? does it all come down to the arcane legal ease buries in the thousands of pages buried in this case. ezra klein is a columnist for the " washington post ." before i dig into that aspect of it, i saw your tweet. you were tough. you asked this interesting question. should the white house be wishing today that they had solicitor general elaine a kagan rather than justice elena kagan ?
>> i don't know the answer to that but by wide acclaim, i've read the arguments, the solicitor general did not do a very good job. i know these issues pretty well. i found him hard to follow. it is funny to read the arguments. the liberal justices like breyer and ginsburg think this guy is not doing the job he needs to do and they begin butting in to make his arguments for him. so it is widely believed he did not represent the bill all that well. one of the justices is elena kagan who was barack obama 's solicitor general. i don't know if she would have done a better or worse job. if he had chosen another pick for his second supreme court nominee , she might well still be his solicitor general and she would have been arguing the case today instead of sitting on the other side of the bench. whether or not the obama administration in the long run will wish she was there, it is anybody's guess.
>> you know this point. i've heard it before from the white house . one of the reasons why president obama was persuaded to appoint elena kagan to the supreme court baltimore he thought she could become a downer weight behind the scenes . do you buy that?
>> i think it is a little overstated how much the justices really influence one another. the folks who are real experts i talked to say listen, scalia, kennedy, all these guys. and women for that matter. they are smart folks who have been legal minds for a very long time. they're not just waiting for somebody new to come in and change everything they think comfortable an elena kagan or sotomayor or scalia, that influence is on the margin. a lot of these folks come in with these big controversial cases on very well known topics alarmly knowing what they think. having read hundreds of thundershowe thousands of briefs. they try to be consistent with the issues. so-on any one justice or any one oral argument can do to change their mind on something controversial and high profile is fairly limited.
>> let's go back to the subject matter at hand. and the presentation, how concerned are, is the democratic legal community this afternoon?
>> enormously. it was a complete face change from this morning. people went into the hearing saying, this will be fairly easy. it will be 7-2, 6-3 decision. it won't that be way anymore. i think pretty much everybody i've spoken to believes it will be much, much closer. i think a lot of folk are to some degree panicking. i think some guests you had earlier say they think the government will still pull this one out. oral arguments are not the be all, end all. but nonetheless, the individual mandates, the chances got a lot dimmer this morning.
>> it was something that justice kennedy that people are happening their hats on at the end which is perhaps health care is different. so who knows. ezra klein , always a pleasure to talk to you.