Last Friday, after Chief Justice John Roberts upheld Obamacare as a legitimate use of the federal government’s taxing power, we said the decision, “exposed the fact that the supposedly conservative Chief Justice of the Court, is actually an unprincipled political operative who can be cowed into supporting a massive expansion of the welfare state in the face of sustained and organized liberal media pressure.”
Now CBS News’ Jan Crawford has produced a report confirming conservatives’ worst fears:
After the historic oral arguments in March, the two knowledgeable sources said, Roberts and the four conservatives were poised to strike down at least the individual mandate. There were other issues being argued – severability and the Medicaid extension – but the mandate was the ballgame.
Because Roberts was the most senior justice in the majority to strike down the mandate, he got to choose which justice would write the Court’s historic decision. He kept it for himself. Over the next six weeks, as Roberts began to craft the decision striking down the mandate, the external pressure began to grow. Roberts almost certainly was aware of it.
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.
Crawford goes onto report that after being bullied by the liberal media, Roberts began “to focus on a different argument to uphold the law and the mandate’s penalty by defining it as a tax.” It was a “strained argument [that] had received almost no attention in the lower courts.” Roberts then tried to get Justice Anthony Kennedy to sign on to his newly created tax analysis, so that “the Court would appear more united in the case.” But Roberts failed. Not only did Kennedy not sign on, he was so upset at Roberts’ betrayal that the refused to even acknowledge Roberts opinion existed.
Thanks to Roberts, the Court now looks more divided than ever. And, according to Rasmussen Reports, Roberts’ decision has sent public approval of the Court to new lows. Since Roberts also failed to get any justices to join his Commerce Clause or taxing power analysis, his opinion has zero precedential value. If one of his goals was to broker a compromise that actually limited the federal government’s power, it is now obvious he failed at that too.
During his confirmation hearing, Roberts promised that he would only act as an umpire calling balls and strikes. Crawford’s report proves that he broke that promise. Roberts has exposed himself not just as a nakedly political actor, but a naive and ineffective one at that.
Obama: The New York Times reports that first-time voters are far less supportive of Obama in 2012 than they were in 2008. And The Times also attributes Obama’s gain in Quinnipiac’s latest Ohio poll to the $40 million he spent attacking Romney over Bain.
Around the Bigs
Reuters, Obamacare Support Rises After Supreme Court Ruling: Voter support for President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul has increased following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding it, although majorities still oppose it, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday showed.
The Wall Street Journal, GOP’s New Health-Law Front: Republicans are planning to use the main component of the Supreme Court decision upholding President Barack Obama’s health-care law as a weapon to try to repeal it. The Republican-controlled House will vote to repeal the entire overhaul by July 11.
The Wall Street Journal, Consumers Unlikely to Rekindle the Recovery: Overall consumer spending fell slightly in May, the Commerce Department said Friday, the first drop in nearly a year. Consumer sentiment tumbled in June to its lowest level since December, wiping out nearly all the recent gains.
The New York Times, Financial Giants Are Moving Jobs Off Wall Street: New York’s biggest investment houses are shifting jobs out of the area and expanding in cheaper locales in the United States, threatening the vast middle tier of positions that form the backbone of employment on Wall Street.
The Los Angeles Times, California patients struggle to transition to managed care system: California has begun moving millions of Medicaid patients to a managed care system to save money, but many with serious illnesses have had to give up doctors or delay treatment.
Fox News, Florida will not implement insurance exchanges: Florida Gov. Rick Scott tells Fox News that he and his Attorney General, Pam Bondi, will work tirelessly to make sure the law is repealed. Scott also insists he still won’t “implement these exchanges that will increase the cost of health and make Medicaid worse.”
Scott Lincicome explains why Roberts’ tax analysis is terrible law.
RedState’s Erick Erickson suggests that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas,investigate whether political pressure changed Roberts’s mind.
Mickey Kaus catches The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne admitting that Fast and Furious “was designed to show how terrible our gun laws are, how much our gun laws are feeding guns down into Mexico and the mess.”
Talking Points Memo Reports that Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is attacking Roberts for breaking his confirmation hearing promise by not upholding Obamacare under the Commerce Clause.
ThinkProgress attacks Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for not having a plan to provide health insurance for all Americans if Obamacare is repealed.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein explains why the White House does not do more to sell Obamacare.