The Washington Post

On health-care predictions, how did pundits’ crystal balls perform?

Microphones stand ready in front of the Supreme Court this morning. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

So we thought we’d take a look at what some of the prominent talking heads and leading journalists had to say about the case — and check in on how well their crystal balls work.

The pundit: Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior legal analyst

The prediction: “This was a train wreck for the Obama administration. This law looks like it’s going to be struck down,” he said March 27. “I’m telling you, all of the predictions including mine that the justices would not have a problem with this law were wrong”

The verdict: He should have stuck with his earlier predictions.

The pundit: Larry Tribe, Harvard Law professor

Prediction: Said on MSNBC that the court would “probably” uphold the law. “I think it will be upheld in its entirety,” he tells Chris Matthews.

The verdict: Close enough!


The pundit: Linda Greenhouse, New York Times

The prediction: On whether the court will reject the constitutional challenge to the individual mandate: “Think it will, by a wide margin” — in a March 21 blog post.

The verdict: Ding, ding! The law professor gets it right.

The pundit: Robert Barnes, The Washington Post

The prediction: “Roberts, who appears less dedicated to federalism than was his predecessor and mentor, William H. Rehnquist, may be ‘gettable,’ ” he wrote this week.

The verdict: Barnes nailed the aspect of today’s ruling that surprised many: that Roberts sided with the libs.

The pundit: Walter Dellinger, former acting solicitor general

The prediction: “The vote upholding the legislation will be lopsided and that Roberts will be in the majority to write the opinion.”

The verdict: He was right about the court upholding the law — but the 5-4 decision wasn’t exactly lopsided.

The pundit: Mark Halperin, Time

The prediction: “Whatever the court rules, it’s bad for the president,” he opined on MSNBC.

The verdict: If Mitt Romney has anything to do with it, probably.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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