The right feels awfully good about this week’s proceedings at the Supreme Court, and have renewed hope that five justices will undo all of the recent advances in U.S. health care. The Republican National Committee is so pleased, it released this ad yesterday, which includes actual audio from the oral arguments.
There’s not much to see in the ad; what matters is the audio – we hear Solicitor General Donald Verrilli defending the Affordable Care Act, but stumbling, pausing, and twice stopping for water. The point, apparently, is that we’re supposed to believe the law is hard to defend.
But as it turns out, the RNC’s new ad is about as honest as the RNC’s attacks on the health care law itself.
A Republican Party web-based advertisement uses altered audio from U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments to attack President Barack Obama’s health-care law. […]
A review of a transcript and recordings of those moments shows that Verrilli took a sip of water just once, paused for a much briefer period, and completed his thought, rather than stuttering and trailing off as heard in the doctored version…. Recordings of the court proceedings reviewed by Bloomberg News reveal that the audio has been edited. While Verrilli paused once to drink water during the opening moments of his presentation, he stopped talking for only a few seconds before continuing with his argument. In the RNC ad, he pauses for about 20 seconds, seeming to lose his train of thought.
Yes, Verrilli and the law had a rough week at the high court, but for the Republican National Committee, reality wasn’t good enough – they had to manipulate the audio recording to mislead the public.
This is what passes for RNC arguments when it comes debating health care policy.
Tom Goldstein, a Supreme Court scholar and an influential attorney who has argued 24 cases before the high court, called the RNC’s ad “the single most classless and misleading thing I’ve ever seen related to the Court.” He added, “It is as if the RNC decided to take an incredibly serious and successful argument that has the chance to produce a pathbreaking legal victory for a conservative interpretation of the Constitution, drag it through the mud, and vomit on it.”