U.S. Supreme Court

Where Do Lawyers Prepare for Health Care 'Endurance Contest'? A Law School and Possibly a Lunchroom


Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. will be squaring off against Paul Clement in health care arguments this week for the second time on health issues since November 2003, when Clement was deputy solicitor general. How are they preparing this time around?

In the 2003 case, Verrilli, then a lawyer at Jenner & Block, won a ruling for General Dynamics, which was opposing a reverse bias suit alleging the company gave preferential treatment to older employees in retirement health benefits, the National Law Journal reports.

Clement prepared for arguments last week with five moot court sessions, the New York Times reports. They were held at the Supreme Court Institute at the Georgetown University Law Center, the National Association of Attorneys General and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal told the Times that lawyers for the government also hold moot courts, but the setting isn’t a mock courtroom. “It’s just the lunchroom, basically,” he said.

The court has scheduled four arguments totaling six hours over three days. Clement and Verrilli will each be arguing three times. Former acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger told the Times he is worried about “the enormous endurance challenge this will be for Verrilli and Clement.” He recalled how arguments affect him. “The day or two after a Supreme Court argument, I just basically collapse,” he said.

Day one considers whether the courts must wait to decide the issues until 2015 when a penalty kicks in for those who don’t buy health insurance. Day two will be arguments over the constitutionality of the health insurance mandate. On day three, there will be morning arguments on whether other parts of the law can survive a decision overturning the mandate. Afternoon arguments on day three will consider the constitutionality of provisions expanding Medicaid coverage.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Chemerinsky: SCOTUS Tackles Law and Politics of the Health Care Act”

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