President Barack Obama faces the specter of twin setbacks at the U.S. Supreme Court in the middle of his re-election campaign with justices questioning his assertion of federal power on both health care and immigration.
U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, the president’s top courtroom lawyer, met resistance across ideological lines yesterday as he called on the court to strike down Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants. Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s only Hispanic and an Obama appointee, told Verrilli his argument is “not selling very well.”
Coupled with last month’s argument over Obama’s health-care overhaul, the session raised the possibility of a one-two punch hitting the president in June, when the court might invalidate his signature domestic achievement and uphold the core of theArizona law his administration went to court to stop.
June may be the “cruelest month” for Obama, said Barbara Perry, a presidential and Supreme Court scholar at theUniversity of Virginia’s Miller Center. “His hope has to be that if both of these huge cases go against him, Americans will be at the beach and won’t be paying attention, but I don’t think he will be that lucky.”