For the second time in two months, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli is being blamed for blowing a case in front of the Supreme Court. Though the justices have yet to rule on anything, the country's major newspapers and TV networks have concluded that the court is aiming to uphold Arizona's tough immigration bill. That decision would be a major loss for the left and the blogosphere knows precisely who to blame: Donald Verrilli.
"Obama's Lawyer Chokes Again" reads the Drudge Report's banner. "Verrilli had a rough time today," reads Business Insider. "Verrilli, in fact, never quite got his point across," reads SCOTUS blog. "Supremes Seem Unimpressed with Obama Immigration Law Arguments," reads The American Spectator.
The editorializing fits comfortably within the narrative that President Obama's chief lawyer has been whiffing it in the biggest court cases in recent memory. To some extent, criticisms of his performance on health care made sense: As the audio transcripts make clear, Verrilli sounded nervous, had to take water breaks, and repeatedly stuttered and stammered. But delivery is just one, largely overrated aspect of arguing in front of the high court. And in today's case, Verrilli delivered his arguments without the previous hiccups. What's left is the disposition of the justices themselves, as The Washington Post's Ezra Klein wrote in March. And if the justices are in a pre-disposition to accept the direction of the argument from the other side, there's not much Verrilli can do.