U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli got off to a remarkably bad start during today’s landmark Supreme Court arguments, devolving into a coughing attack within the first 25 seconds of his opening remarks.
In an audio of the hearing, Verrilli, who is arguing the Obama administration’s side in the case over healthcare reform, seems like a nervous wreck. Delivering the first remarks of the day, Verrilli clearly loses his composure when he starts to cough, and then appears to take a sip of water and get on with his statement, sounding a little rattled.
While it must be insanely nerve-racking to argue in front of the Supreme Court (especially when your boss’ job is ostensibly on the line), Verrilli’s cold feet are surprising for someone who has been in front of the high court 17 times. Legal reporters who attended the hearing said that the Solicitor General seemed unprepared to defend the individual mandate, the focal point in the debate over the healthcare reform law’s constitutionality.
Listen to Verrilli’s meltdown below.
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