Kudos to CBS… and How Often Do
You See that in the Green Room?
posted at 7:21 pm on July 1, 2012 by Dafydd ab Hugh
In an startling and heartening burst of sanity, the CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent, Jan Crawford, pens a piece reporting that, as many suspected, Chief Justice John Roberts originally voted with conservative justices to strike down the individual mandate.
Then some time later, he changed his vote to align himself with the liberal justices… after he had suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous importuning, bullying, and lightly veiled threats from Left-leaning news readers, from congressional Democrats, and from la Casa Blanca itself:
Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court’s four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama’s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.
Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said. Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy – believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law – led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold….
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….
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.
The three conservatives (Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito) and the more libertarian Justice Anthony Kennedy, are evidently furious with Roberts for his betrayal of his first vote and throwing away the chance to put an emphatic exclamation point to the slap-back against the creeping cancer of the Commerce-Clause. So irate that the quartet utterly refused to join in any portion of Roberts’ opinion, even the parts with which they (separately) concur:
The conservatives refused to join any aspect of his opinion, including sections with which they agreed, such as his analysis imposing limits on Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause, the sources said.
Instead, the four joined forces and crafted a highly unusual, unsigned joint dissent. They deliberately ignored Roberts’ decision, the sources said, as if they were no longer even willing to engage with him in debate.
This is an amazing (and developing) story. I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internets; I am certainly unable to pronounce on the accuracy or truthfulness of Crawford’s analysis. But surprising congratulations are in order to her and to her employer, CBS News, for having the courage to grab the Big Stick by the tail and look the facts in the face.
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…