CBS News’ Jan Crawford is reporting that Chief Justice John Roberts originally sided with the Supreme Court’s four conservative justices to strike down the heart of Obama’s health care reform law, often referred to as “Obamacare,” 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.
CBS continues (all subsequent emphasis added):
Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said. Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy – believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law – led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold.
“He was relentless,” one source said of Kennedy’s efforts. “He was very engaged in this.”
But this time, Roberts held firm. And so the conservatives handed him their own message which, as one justice put it, essentially translated into, “You’re on your own.”
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.
So what got to Roberts? What made him change the vote? Apparently, he simply lost track of his principles
CBS explains a possible reason for the change of heart:
[Unlike some other justices] Roberts pays attention to media coverage. As Chief Justice, he is keenly aware of his leadership role on the Court, and he also is sensitive to how the Court is perceived by the public.
There were countless news articles in May warning of damage to the Court – and to Roberts’ reputation – if the Court were to strike down the mandate. Leading politicians, including the President himself, had expressed confidence the mandate would be upheld.
Some even suggested that if Roberts struck down the mandate, it would prove he had been deceitful during his confirmation hearings, when he explained a philosophy of judicial restraint.
It was around this time that it also became clear to the conservative justices that Roberts was, as one put it, “wobbly,” the sources said.
It is not known why Roberts changed his view on the mandate and decided to uphold the law. At least one conservative justice tried to get him to explain it, but was unsatisfied with the response, according to a source with knowledge of the conversation.
So, basically, he was worried about PR rather than the Constitution? What a gutless wonder! The report also says Roberts tried to convince the other justices to switch votes, to make the court appear more ”united”. Also it seems that Justice Kennedy was trying to get Roberts to come back until the very last-minute. Here is part of Kennedy’s dissent, the words are, to me, chilling.
“The fragmentation of power produced by the structure of our government is central to liberty, and when we destroy it, we place liberty in peril…Today’s decision should have vindicated, should have taught, this truth; instead our judgment today has disregarded it.”
Indeed sir, indeed!
Linked at I’m a Man thanks! BC adds this
This is a prime example of why the liberals keep winning.
Conservatives fear being labeled ideological or ignorant, so they let the left dictate what is appropriate for debate. Some are even willing compromise their good sense or integrity to stay in the elitist crowd.
Yes, Liberals are NEVER afraid of what they will be called no matter what they say. Some Conservatives forget this. They also seem to forget that Liberals will say whatever they want about Conservatives, no matter what the Conservative says or does. To the Left is is all about winning, anything is acceptable to them if it leads to a victory for them.