Some people were surprised that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts would abandon the conservative wing to uphold the health care decision. It shouldn’t. If you ever studied supreme court history, the chief justice will almost always try to be on the “correct” side of a major court case that has significant implications for the country. Although still young for a chief justice, and this probably won’t be his last big decision, Chief Justice Roberts has an obligation to protect the Supreme Court as an institution even if the other two branches of the government choose to go to political hell.
Did Chief Justice Roberts throw a gift-wrapped bone to conservatives by declaring the individual mandate penalty to be a tax? Maybe, maybe not. With politicians being afraid of raising taxes, everyone is scrambling to figure out where they stand tax-wise to the health care decision. Interestingly, the Mitt Romney campaign is having a harder time with this issue than the Barak Obama campaign: denying that it’s a tax, acknowledging that it’s a tax, and fending off calls from Rupert Murdoch and Jack Welch to shake up campaign staff.
We live in a strange world where a moderate conservative president for the liberal party can introduce a health care proposal that embraces many ideas from the conservative party, have it enacted into law by the liberals on a party line vote, be repudiated everywhere by the conservatives as unholy, and uphold as constitutional by a conservative chief justice on the nation’s highest court. Something to think about on America’s 236th birthday.