WASHINGTON -- It was just last week that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she had "no idea" how the Supreme Court would come down on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care law. But on Tuesday, she said she expected the high court to overwhelmingly rule that the law is constitutional.
"Me, I'm predicting 6-3 in favor," Pelosi said during remarks at a luncheon at The Paley Center for Media in New York. "We shall see. It's a lesson in civics and I respect it. I respect the court and the judicial review."
Pelosi said things could go a couple of ways in the event that the Supreme Court finds the individual mandate -- the core component of the law, which requires people to have health insurance -- unconstitutional. "You could have one piece of it taken out and then you address it one way. That's called 'severability,'" she said. "Or they could say, since this is in here, we're declaring the whole thing unconstitutional."
During the same interview, Pelosi described Obama's reaction when his signature legislative accomplishment finally, after more than a year, limped to passage in Congress in March 2010.
"The day after it passed, the president called and said, 'Last night when you passed the health care bill, I was happier than I was when I was elected president of the United States.' What a beautiful thought," she said.
"And I said, 'Well, I was pretty happy last night, too, Mr. President, but not happier than when you were elected president, because if you weren't elected president, we wouldn't be having this success today."
Pelosi also cracked a joke about congressional Republicans who have put up a fight in recent months about women's access to contraception.
"I never could understand why they didn't believe in family planning and not, like, have 13 children themselves," she said, and paused before adding, "When you meet some of them you may understand why. But that's a different story."
"That was terrible of me," Pelosi said to laughs. "Shame."
The Supreme Court is not expected to release its decision on Obama's health care law until June.