Evidence has been presented that Supreme Court Justice John Roberts switched his position on the vote regarding health care reform. The report, from CBS News, said that Roberts originally was in the same camp as four conservative members of the court to overturn President Barack Obama’s individual mandate in the health care bill. When Roberts decided to change his mind about the individual mandate, he had to fight off efforts to change his mind for a month. The efforts to sway Roberts back to the overturn camp were led by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
“He was relentless,” an unnamed source said regarding the efforts by Justice Kennedy. “He was very engaged in this.”
It also seems that the spotlight of the public was a major factor in Roberts’ decision to switch positions along with the arguing inside the court. The report from CBS News said that Roberts follows what is reported in the media relentlessly and that with the reputation of his court on the line, an unnamed source said that Chief Justice Roberts began to waffle.
The ruling on the Affordable Care Act was issued on Thursday of last week, which is when suspicions began floating around about Roberts being scared by Justice Antonin Scalia. The Daily Beast published a theory from one of its readers who used to clerk for an appellate court. The theory is as follows:
“He certainly didn’t trust the dissenters, as he clearly instructed his law clerks to begin working on an alternative majority opinion (the final product was too polished and too long to have been written at the last minute). And he waited to see what was written.”
To go along with that opinion were some details that point to oddities inside the dissent written by Scalia care of The Volokh Conspiracy.
“Notice also that his response to Roberts is tacked on at the end, rather than worked into the body of whatever he was writing (see page 64 of his dissent). For example, one would have expected Scalia to directly take on Roberts’ application of the Anti-Injunction Act, but his brief section on that act only mentions what “the Government” argues (see pages 26-28).”
The mandate was upheld in a vote of 5-4 by the justices, with Roberts voting in favor of upholding the individual mandate. Some believe that Roberts does not have interest in preserving health care but instead to keep the capital of the court so it can be given other massive issues in the country.