John Roberts Saves Obama's Health-Care Law
Justices on the Supreme Court of the United States have an odd history of not doing what they are expected to do. After George H. W. Bush appointed David Souter, the justice from New Hampshire turned into a fairly liberal member of the Court. It happens--FDR’s choice of Felix Frankfurter did not turn into a liberal justice and Earl Warren certainly was not as conservative as Eisenhower thought he would be.
But nobody saw that Chief Justice John Roberts--a conservative appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush--would be the vote to save the federal health-care signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. While everyone thought that Justice Anthony Kennedy would be the decisive vote, it turned out to be Roberts. Kennedy voted with conservatives against the health-care law. The individual mandate--the linchpin of Obamacare--was saved on a 5-4 with Roberts providing the swing vote.
With Roberts breaking with them on the challenge to the Arizona immigration law and now health-care, conservatives have to wonder whether what appeared to be one of their biggest triumphs in the Bush years was really a defeat.