Why? That’s the question now, Why?
(CBS News) Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court’s four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama’s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.
It gets even more bizarre. It was Justice Kennedy who fought the hardest to bring Roberts back to his original stance but it was to no avail. Roberts couldn’t be persuaded to change his second opinion.
The conservatives refused to join any aspect of his opinion, including sections with which they agreed, such as his analysis imposing limits on Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause, the sources said.
Instead, the four joined forces and crafted a highly unusual, unsigned joint dissent. They deliberately ignored Roberts’ decision, the sources said, as if they were no longer even willing to engage with him in debate.
We must keep in mind that the scenario CBS describes is hearsay and will likely remain as such. Nevertheless, it’s plausible. If Roberts did come down on one side then switch to the other it was because his first thought was, as a Supreme Court Judge, to protect the integrity of the Constitution. Then later, as the Chief Justice he decided to protect the integrity of the Court by not miring it in the controversy. As I speculated in an earlier post he passed the buck to the voters. In so doing, he harmed the Court because now the controversy is the Court.