I’ll begin my blog this week by making a confession. I was wrong.
About two years ago, shortly after the Democratic Congress passed the health care bill, and Barack Obama signed it into law, in one of my blogs I predicted that the four liberal Supreme Court judges would vote to uphold its constitutionality, the four conservative judges would vote to repeal it, and Justice Anthony Kennedy would be the deciding vote. And further, I opined that he would vote to strike it down as unconstitutional (which he did.)
What I never saw coming, (and virtually no one else did either) was that the Chief Justice, John Roberts, usually a reliable conservative vote on the Court, would be the deciding vote, and would decide to allow Obamacare to stand.
Here’s what I think happened. (And as I’ve just acknowledged that I got predicting the decision wrong, I could very well have this wrong too.) But here goes anyway.
First, something you may not know. Within a month or so of President Bush’s appointing John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and his subsequent confirmation by the Senate (interestingly, then-Senator Barack Obama voted against his confirmation), I spent about an hour with Chief Justice Roberts in his office at the Supreme Court. I was the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee at the time. The two of us discussed a variety of topics. I was impressed with his expansive knowledge on a whole range of issues, judicial and otherwise. He was very personable, and the time seemed to go by very quickly.
I served as Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee for six years, and I closely followed the Roberts Court during that time. I no longer serve in that capacity, although I’m still on the committee. (I now am Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.) I still follow the Court with great interest, although not quite with the scrutiny I did as the committee Chairman.
I still believe that Chief Justice Roberts has served with honor and distinction and is a great asset to the Court. That being said, I think he blew it on the Obamacare decision.
I think he ultimately succumbed to the chorus of liberal editorial writers and commentators who were attempting to in effect “work the refs.” The Washington Post, the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Time and Newsweek Magazines and others weighed in time and again, making the argument that if the Court struck down Obamacare on a 5 – 4 vote, the Court would be forever besmirched as partisan, and unworthy of respect or credibility.
According to a CBS report, Chief Justice Roberts pays close attention to media coverage of the Court, and is very sensitive to criticism. In essence, Roberts was aware that the liberal media machine was going to unload on the Court (and him) if they struck down Obamacare, and he was intimidated.
He desperately sought a rationale for upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare, and despite the fact that Barack Obama, and Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi had all emphatically declared that Obamacare was not a tax, Roberts determined that it was indeed a tax, and therefore Congress had the constitutional authority to pass the health care bill through Congress’s power to tax. Voila, it was constitutional.
Why did John Roberts strive so hard to find a way to uphold Obamacare, and thus please the liberal Washington establishment media? His name’s on the Court. It’s the Roberts Court, just as we had the Warren Court, and the Burger Court, and the Rehnquist Court. It’s his legacy.
The liberal press can be particularly brutal on conservative jurists. Just ask Clarence Thomas. And most recently, ask Anthony Scalia. The treatment they’ve received has been disgraceful.
And when commentators and editorial writers say that a conservative judge (or any elected official for that matter) has grown, well that means that they’ve gotten more liberal. So in their parlance, Chief Justice Roberts has grown.
So where does all of this leave us? Well, now that the highest court in the land has ruled Obamacare constitutional, the only way to get rid of this big-government-solution to healthcare, is for voters this fall to elect a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican President. If Democrats hold onto any one of the three, we will be stuck with Obamacare forever.
Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.
Also, I was saddened to learn of the passing of a great advocate for Green Twp. and Hamilton County, former State Representative, Cheryl Winkler. She was an extraordinary woman and will be sorely missed.
p.s. I hope you and your family enjoy our nation’s 236th birthday today! God bless America!