Is Chief Justice Roberts Growing in Office?

The saga of Chief Justice Roberts’s decision to change his mind and approve much of Obamacare continues.  Previously, I mentioned the possibility that he supported the constitutionality of Obamacare out of a desire to protect his reputation, especially with liberal elites.  But there are other possibilities and some of them are scarier.  One possibility is that Roberts is moving to the center.  That might be occurring for a variety of reasons.  One is that Roberts genuinely has changed his mind on the issues.  Another reason might be that he recognizes that Justice Kennedy is the most powerful justice on the Court, because of his centrism.  Roberts might want more power.  He might want the Court to be the Roberts Court not merely in the sense that he is the Chief Justice, but in the sense that he has significant power over its decisions.

There is actually some evidence that Roberts is moving to the center.  Sebelius, the health care case, is just one part of it.  Another part is that Roberts voted with the liberals in the Arizona immigration case.  And yet another part is that Roberts voted with Sotomayor, Ginsberg, and Kennedy in the stolen valor case.  Of course, these cases might be explained on other grounds.

I have not seen other commentators point this out, but it is a disturbing trend (whatever one’s views of the merits of these cases).  June 2012 may be the month when Chief Justice Roberts first started to “grow in office.”

Reader Discussion

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on July 17, 2012 at 11:42:16 am

Question. Is any part of the job of our justice system to include finding a way to pass a challenged law? I have always understood, that judges are supposed to make a decision based on the arguments for or against presented to the courts. In reference to Roberts decision, I believe he came to the correct conclusion that the law is not constitutional based on the given argument that it falls under the states commerce clause. This in my thought process ends this case. It was argued by the federal government that it was constitutional under this clause. It failed it's constitutional litmus test.. However, Roberts appears to have gone out of his way to see this bill pass through by then also stating that it is constitutional as a tax?? I must be wrong about my assumption over this matter. Any explanation for this? It's obviously not illegal for this to happen, but I don't understand why a judge would feel it's their responsibility to go beyond the challenge under the pretense it was argued under and find a way to see it through? Would this then be any different than a state level supreme court judge hearing a murder trial, by all testimony and supportive evidence given fully supporting guilt, towards the end of the trial to note that the defense counsel completely overlooked some part of the law that just obliterates the prosecutions case, thereby giving the defendant a grand look of innocence which results in a jury that most could safely assume would have returned a guilty verdict, will now have to come back with an innocent verdict. I'm throwing wildness to the winds I know, but... Really.. How far off can I be on this?

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on August 20, 2012 at 01:13:40 am

The idea that ObamaCare is the primary rsoean for health insurance companies raising their rates or leaving the market is unsupportable. Blue Shield of California tried to get a massive rate increase (over 50%) for small businesses (like my own), but they were careful to say that it wasn't owing to ObamaCare; it was owing to continuing massive inflation in the health care sector. The actual costs to the companies for complying with ObamaCare are modest and are chiefly related to regulations regarding coverage of pre-existing conditions, no tossing people off policies because they get sick, and no lifetime coverage caps (to reduce medical bankruptcies). These are components of ObamaCare which various GOP politicians assert that they want to keep, although how this could be accomplished in the absence of mandates to purchase insurance is difficult to see.The Massachusetts experience really is informative, as it's a near perfect model for ObamaCare. It's far from perfect and remains a work in progress, but it's succeeded admirably in doing what it set out to do.- Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CAReply

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