The Solicitor General’s Tough Day

There was no reason to think that Tuesday’s arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court would be an especially difficult day for Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. His performance on Monday had been solid and the same was expected today.

But from the outset, Verrilli seemed nervous, as he coughed during one of his opening lines, re-started his presentation to the Justices, and then interrupted himself to reach down for a glass of water.

“Excuse me,” Verrilli said, continuing his statement, as his voice seemed to warble while he almost stammered at times in a search for words.

Here’s my take on the Solicitor General after Tuesday’s argument:

When the Solicitor General ended his presentation after almost an hour, the quick consensus among my fellow reporters in the cheap seats of the U.S. Supreme Court was that Verrilli had a tough day.

Now let’s be fair – if the Obama Administration loses this case, it won’t be Verrilli’s fault; but his presentation on Tuesday was not air tight for the justices by any means.