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Pelosi predicts top court will uphold health care law

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is interviewed by Paley Center president and CEO Pat Mitchell at a Paley100 event on April 3, 2012.
Michael Priest Photography
Michael Priest Photography

(CBS News) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi predicted the Supreme Court would uphold the constitutionality of President Obama's signature health care law when it decides on the landmark legislation, likely later this year.

"I'm predicting 6-3 in favor," Pelosi said Tuesday during a discussion at The Paley Center for Media. "But we shall see. It's a lesson in civics and I respect it, I respect the court and judicial review."

Pelosi told the audience at the hour-long luncheon that Congress "wrote the bill in an ironclad way, in terms of its constitutionality."

"I have confidence that if we are talking about the law of the land, and our compliance with it, that we will be okay," she said of the law that was also a top achievement of her four years running the House of Representatives.

Pelosi was critical of the changing views of some Republicans on the role of the courts as it relates to the legislative branch of government.

"A large segment within the Republican Party, as recently as the first decade of this century, have said that they don't believe in judicial review," Pelosi said, referring the practice of the courts interpreting the constitutionality of federal laws. "Now they support judicial review because they want to take the health care bill before the court."

Mr. Obama warned the court not to overturn the law in remarks at the White House earlier this week.

"Ultimately I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress," Mr. Obama said Monday during a speech in the Rose Garden.

Mr. Obama was sharply criticized for his remarks suggesting the court does not have the right to overturn the law. On Tuesday, Mr. Obama said he remained confident the court would rule in his favor but walked back some of the most combative comments toward the court.

In what appears to be a direct response to the comments, a panel of three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 5th Circuit ordered the Justice Department to investigate whether Mr. Obama believes courts are permitted to overturn federal laws. Stipulations of the mandate require the DOJ to deliver a three page, single spaced letter describing its findings by Thursday.

Pelosi reiterated her confidence in the bill, calling it a "liberation" that "makes being a woman no longer a preexisting condition."