Chief Justice John Roberts targeted by conservative ire

Suffice it to say when Mitt Romney next talks about U.S. Supreme Court nominations he intends to make as president, he’ll point to Antonin Scalia, or Samuel Alito, or Clarence Thomas.

In this Jan. 27, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama greets Chief Justice John Roberts before he delivered his State of the Union Address on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP/Charles Dharapak

In this Jan. 27, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama greets Chief Justice John Roberts before he delivered his State of the Union Address on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP/Charles Dharapak

John Roberts, the surprise swing vote in the court’s 5-4 decision to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, has suddenly become persona non grata in certain Republican circles – although friends of the chief justice are putting up a healthy defense. Here’s a quick afternoon breakdown:

From Rush Limbaugh:

”The chief justice was hell-bent to find a way to make this law applicable, so he just decided, you know what, as a tax increase, it works, because there’s no limit on the federal government’s ability to tax….Even when they don’t ask for it, the Supreme Court is gonna find a way to make what they want to do legal because John Roberts said it’s not our job here to forbid this. It’s not our job to protect people from outcomes.”

From Joel B. Pollak at Breitbart.com:

“[It] would appear that the Chief Justice may have succumbed to the bullying meted out by President Barack Obama, who attacked the Court in the aftermath of oral arguments in March, when Obamacare seemed headed for certain defeat.”

Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Post offers a nuanced defense:

“Whatever one thinks of the substance of Bush v. Gore, it did affect the reputation of the court. Roberts seems determined that there be no recurrence with Obamacare. Hence his straining in his Obamacare ruling to avoid a similar result — a 5 to 4 decision split along ideological lines that might be perceived as partisan and political.

“National health care has been a liberal dream for a hundred years. It is clearly the most significant piece of social legislation in decades. Roberts’s concern was that the court do everything it could to avoid being seen, rightly or wrongly, as high-handedly overturning sweeping legislation passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.”

From Ezra Klein, also at the Washington Post, though on the other side of the aisle:

“The 5-4 language suggests that Roberts agreed with the liberals. But for the most part, he didn’t. If you read the opinions, he sided with the conservative bloc on every major legal question before the court. He voted with the conservatives to say the Commerce Clause did not justify the individual mandate. He voted with the conservatives to say the Necessary and Proper Clause did not justify the mandate. He voted with the conservatives to limit the federal government’s power to force states to carry out the planned expansion of Medicaid.”

Even the liberal folks at Talking Points Memo are wondering if they’ve been played:

“All five conservative justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, agreed that the individual mandate exceeded Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause. So all those who thought this case might be the first major retrenchment of Commerce Clause law since the New Deal might still be right.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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105 comments Add your comment

JPL

June 28th, 2012
5:24 pm

What surprises me is how ignorant the folks posting on this blog are. If you have insurance there is no change. President Reagan decided that health care was a right and he passed a bill called EMTALA that we have all paid for since. Your premiums have gone up AND your taxes have risen. Now those who are earning 30,000 can afford to buy their own health care. I know reading is hard work but read the darn bill… Most people want to buy insurance but until now it has not been affordable. BTW.. if you don’t want insurance..don’t buy it and pay the 100 penalty but don’t expect me to pick up the additional cost..pay it yourself.

JPL

June 28th, 2012
5:27 pm

How is the bill paid for.. well hello how much has EMTALA cost us over the years… do the research ..you have been paying for it but you paid for double pneumonia rather than a doctor’s visit where prescriptions could have been handed out. For those who say leave my medicare and va alone..those are government programs. This program is run by insurance companies so there still is a risk..

catlady

June 28th, 2012
5:39 pm

My neighbor is frothing at the mouth on this. It is HIS RIGHT (By Gawd) not to buy insurance (and at 56 and 375 lbs) when he has to go to the hospital, STICK THE REST OF US PAYING, INSURED FOLKS WITH THE BILL! Everyone needs skin in the game. The rest of us have been paying for all these “Patriots” when they need care but are unwilling or unable to buy insurance and unwilling or unable to pay for it. Personally, I am tired of it!

RAS

June 28th, 2012
5:46 pm

Hey JPL, what matters here is not affordable healthcare, you moron. It has to do with the Federal Government requiring us all to buy something. It completely tramples all over the principles for which we stand, a free market, and your ability to chose. Why should I have to pay a tax if I decide not to take part in this mandate? It’s one more step for the Government to get their hand in my life and us all. NO, the program is not run by insurance companies, it is run by the federal government. THE NUMBER ONE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE THROUGH NATIONAL DEFENSE. Which Obama is also not doing, by not securing our borders and having our guys killed. He won’t arm them with the proper weaponry. He said we have to engage them with rubber bullets and bean bags, while drug cartels escorting hard narcotics are coming across with assault rifles and heavy arms.

DannyX

June 28th, 2012
5:53 pm

RAS, calm down, you don’t have insurance and are about to give yourself a heart attack. Of course because you don’t have insurance you will die from that heart attack.

Your Republican friends will yell…”LET HIM DIE!!!” so don’t expect any help from them.

RAS

June 28th, 2012
5:59 pm

Not quite, you sound like an uneducated individual DannyX. It is actually quite the contrary good sir. It will be the Feds telling me when I am 80 that I am too old to undergo surgery when needed. Completely omitting the existence of a patient/doctor relationship. “Just give him some medicine, let him live out his final hours hallucinating.”

RAS

June 28th, 2012
6:01 pm

Do you really in your right mind, want the Federal Government to control your health care?

RAS

June 28th, 2012
6:07 pm

..and you obviously have never partied with Republicans, Democrats are such a bore!

Kris

June 28th, 2012
6:18 pm

In theory your health insurance will not go up..What we need is some cost control on medical costs.

We will have to recall ir impeach the dumb deal at the capitol and his cronies. To make GA abide by federal law.

The one thing I do know. mitty was a bad politician yesterday and today he is still a bad politician. Whats a real fact he will be a bad politician tomorrow.

Stop the GOP from holding America hostage

Re=elect President OBAMA.

Matt

June 28th, 2012
6:21 pm

Yeah, Repubs, never mind the fact that 80% of adults already have health insurance. By God, no black liberal is gonna take away the right of the other 20% to be stupid!

“Mama always said stupid is as stupid does.”

Obama Does It Again. SORRY GOP :(

June 28th, 2012
6:22 pm

Here’s to MYTH ROMNEY and HIS SUPPORTERS:

Proverbs 28:20

A faithful man (OBAMA) will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens

to be rich (MYTH ROMNEY) will not go unpunished.

Mitzymy

June 28th, 2012
6:23 pm

If you watched Lawrence O’Donnel last night you would have heard an explanation of the tax that will be added if you don’t get insurance. He read in the law that there is no way that the federal government will try to collect, and IRS is forbidden to collect it. It is one of the provisions in the health care law. Has anybody read it or are you just going on what Fox tells you. The health care law is all good for everybody. If you already have insurance, it does not affect you, and if you don’t there are provisions to help you get it, even extra money for people who are really poor. They just don’t want people sitting around not trying to help themselves.

Obama Does It Again. SORRY GOP :(

June 28th, 2012
6:24 pm

Hang on ERIC HOLDER.

Help is on the way.

The Lord works in misterious ways.

Obama Does It Again. SORRY GOP :(

June 28th, 2012
6:27 pm

@RAS

June 28th, 2012
5:59 pm
Not quite, you sound like an uneducated individual DannyX. It is actually quite the contrary good sir. It will be the Feds telling me when I am 80 that I am too old to undergo surgery when needed. Completely omitting the existence of a patient/doctor relationship. “Just give him some medicine, let him live out his final hours hallucinating.”

**********************************************************************************

“Just give him some medicine, let him live out his final hours hallucinating.”

THAT IS HAPPENING TODAY!

SO WHATS NEW?

Michael

June 28th, 2012
6:34 pm

He rewrote the law he did not judge it.

if ti was a tax 2 years ago and it was a tax it would not have passed

roberts is a shill

double

June 28th, 2012
6:39 pm

Cheney got a heart.How old is he.

mary long

June 28th, 2012
6:41 pm

I am happy to know that everyone who can afford ins will have to have it. Many people have dropped ins so we, who have ins would pay for there health care. No more.

OLD Guardsman

June 28th, 2012
6:45 pm

I don’t agree with this ruling, but can you imagine if Chief Justice Roberts would have sided with the conservatives? All these fine “progressives” would have been going out of their mind, crying about activist judges. So now we at the point where “the people” can decided the issue with their vote, like we thought we did in 2010. It’s a Republic folks, no matter which side of the isle you are on.

OLD Guardsman

June 28th, 2012
6:50 pm

Matt

“the right” to healthcare? or “the right” for me to pay for their healthcare?

Sandra

June 28th, 2012
6:52 pm

Sometimes I wonder if Republicans can even read. Maybe that’s why they listen to Fox News for all their talking point.

If they would smarten up a bit and learn to get facts instead of ‘opinions’ they might be better off. And as someone said up in one of the previous posts, I’m tired of paying for the people who can afford insurance and don’t get it and then expect free treatment at the hospitals. Who do you think pays for it?
As for the government interfering and telling people what to do, why don’t you have the same feeling when it comes to women’s health. Then you think it’s perfectly fine for the governement to dictate what can be done and what can’t. Hypocrites!

OLD Guardsman

June 28th, 2012
6:53 pm

double – yea but this is the first heart he ever had, at least according the Nancy

C chisholm

June 28th, 2012
6:54 pm

Curls to Justice Roberts! He has restored my faith in the Supreme court’s Integrity! ThecAmerican people are the winners. Hopefully, the intelligent electorate will give Obama a resounding victory this fall so all aspects of the affordable health act can work for them! God Bless you Justice Roberts!

RAS

June 28th, 2012
6:59 pm

What are you people talking about, you’re uneducated!

RAS

June 28th, 2012
7:00 pm

SEE YOU ALL IN NOVEMBER! CAN’T WAIT TO REPEAL THIS B.S. AND THEN REFORM IT THE RIGHT WAY, OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE GOVERNMENT!!!

idiot

June 28th, 2012
7:01 pm

HA HA HA!!!!!
Boy these conservative nuts are having seizures. It’s sad. What’s even more sad is that people who need healthcare the most are the ones so adamantly opposed to this law. My coworker nearly filed bankruptcy because of his wife’s medical bills but can’t say enough about how he hates Obamacare. Oh yeah, he’s also $40,000 in debt with student loans.

RAS

June 28th, 2012
7:03 pm

you’re a moron

RAS

June 28th, 2012
7:03 pm

Hope you enjoy bending over to China!

Nancy Trant

June 28th, 2012
7:09 pm

Charles Krauthammer had it right when he said:

“National health care has been a liberal dream for a hundred years. It is clearly the most significant piece of social legislation in decades. Roberts’s concern was that the court do everything it could to avoid being seen, rightly or wrongly, as high-handedly overturning sweeping legislation passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.”

But what this means is that America has in its Chief Justice a man of irresponsible focus; the aim of his sense of responsibility is to protect the image of the Supreme Court and not the freedom and economic health of his country. His job was to determine the constitutionality of the matter before him and NOT offer an “out” to the White House by changing the legislation, which he did by determining the mandate is really a tax. That twas not his job nor was it proper. He is, after all, merely human – but the country desperately needed him to be a grownup and not act like a junior high school kid obsessed with image. Lady Liberty hangs her head low tonight and tears are streaking her face.

Shar

June 28th, 2012
7:12 pm

@Sandra – YES!

Just Sayin'

June 28th, 2012
7:14 pm

Silly conservatives… it was one of your own that came up with the idea of the mandate in the first place. Or was the Heritage Foundation a bunch of effete liberal socialist pansies back around 1990?

Ras

June 28th, 2012
7:40 pm

Well said Nancy

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Kate

June 28th, 2012
7:51 pm

Essentially this health care mandate is a new tax to be imposed on the middle class. As usual the middle class bears the brunt of this decision. What i’d like to know is, since when can the Supreme Court levy taxes? If their decision means a tax, than they are responsible. Isn’t that unconstitutional?

Frederick Douglass

June 28th, 2012
7:57 pm

Who knew the Supreme Court could choose a president, but it happened with horrendous results, maybe they’ve righted their ship.

[...] on ObamaCareHouston Chronicle (blog)Media Matters for America (blog) -StandardNet (blog) -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 19,060 news [...]

Bernie

June 28th, 2012
8:41 pm

Obama Does It Again. SORRY GOP :( @ – 6:24 pm –

AMEN, Mr.Holder you will not be left out to dry based on Lies and Half truths.
GOOD will overcome EVIL …..ALWAYS!

Remember, Jesus too was persecuted wrongly during his time here too!

Those that did it, were probably Republicans too!

Ray

June 28th, 2012
8:42 pm

RAS,

Even though this bill does not eliminate the private insurance market, my answer is : YES, I want to have the government run my insurance, I am counting the days off until I turn 65.

I worked at a VA hospital and Naval hospital, and the care in there was AMAZING. I use to have Tricare/Champus, and think it is the best insurance around.

When the lifetime and annual limits are lifted I will be able to sleep better;, many of us who have seen hard tragedies strike, KNOW limits can be reached much too quickly.

Today is an historic day. We can be humane society.

Weetamoe

June 28th, 2012
8:46 pm

Looks like Roberts is a better chess player than Obama. Can’t wait until we all qualify for the kind of heroic treatment Teddy received. His son Patrick the Addled sent out a fund-raising letter warning that the TEA party would go on a rampage if the court upheld Obamacare, but it was the DNC that reacted by sending out hateful bigoted profane tweets. Jake Tapper finally called them on it.

thegreatusa

June 28th, 2012
8:48 pm

Chief Justice John Roberts is a coward. He stands for nothing! That this Health Care bill was shoved down the throats of all Americans, without their consent, and he has the audacity to turn a blind eye to that fact, is unconscionable.
He should be ashamed of himself. I am ashamed of him representing me and our forefathers.

Bernie

June 28th, 2012
8:50 pm

Oh Yes, I want to give a shout out to George BUSH! THANK_YOU! :)

You could not have chosen a better Supreme Court Chief Justice.

This is the FIRST and only thing I have been able to agree with BUSH that he has done as President.

P.S. NO, you are not being missed and you are STILL NOT wanted BACK in The WHITEHOUSE! even the Republicans will agree with me on that one.

M Gleason

June 28th, 2012
8:50 pm

Buying and Eating Broccoli,

Thanks to the wisdom of Chief Justice Roberts we now know that…
If you do not buy a $2.00 head of broccoli you will have to put 20 cents in the fine jar.
However, if you do buy the broccoli, you still do not have to eat it.

He also warned about excessive broccoli fines, so hey Ma, there are limits!

td

June 28th, 2012
8:55 pm

Obama lied and gave the working poor and middle class the largest tax increase in American history and you libs thank him for doing this.

Fred

June 28th, 2012
8:58 pm

Obama will go down as the 2nd greatest President, behind Abe.

We won

June 28th, 2012
9:00 pm

32 million peeps, just said hope and change is working for me.

td

June 28th, 2012
9:13 pm

I guess I was wrong when I said that the Supreme Court would overturn Obamacare. Now I feel like a complete jerk, but I’ll spin this some kind of way in favor of the conservatives.

Obama – 1
Repubs – 0

Mike Brady

June 28th, 2012
9:28 pm

The Bush failures continues!!!!

Buckhead Boy

June 28th, 2012
9:34 pm

Ras, since you obviously have high regard for your intelligence, would you explain to me the value that for-profit insurance companies add to health care. Mine seems to have no problem determining what I need. It uses economic sanctions to try to force me into the care of the providers that it prefers. It has doubled my premiums over the past ten years while expending on me an infinitesimal fraction of what I’ve paid. Yet, it seems to have hundreds of millions of dollars to expend on promoting and protecting its corporate interests; most of which, if not obviously inimical to mine, I cannot deduce as being particularly beneficial . The experts declare that our for-profit health care system is the world’s highest in cost, but ranked somewhere between 26th and 37th in overall performance. Isn’t that the definition of inefficient and ineffective? When the Affordable Care Act was under consideration for adoption, the president of the American College of Cardiology decried: “Ten years ago, the US healthcare system was declared ‘broken,’ and it has not improved.” That was an eminent physician describing our health care system pre-Act. So please, explain to me what I don’t understand about the advantages of your cherished free market when it comes to health care. And, by all means, enlighten me as to how your declaration of freedom to go without coverage should be accorded any respect by me and others when that has adverse consequences for us.

Ralph

June 28th, 2012
9:40 pm

Isn’t it ironic that the individual mandate to prevent “free riders” and assure that a system is sustainable was a Republican idea supported by Romney, Gingrich, et al. Only when the Democrats decided to go along with the Republican proposal in lieu of a single payer plan did it suddenly become a treasonous socialist concept.

LaKeisha Jackson

June 28th, 2012
9:54 pm

I think it is an absolute disgrace that our country doesn’t provide nationalized health care, but I did (and do not) support the mandate. (And did not support it when it was a republican proposal, either.) I want to see a single-payer system, preferably by just expanding Medicare to cover everyone.
I am glad to see President Obama get a politcal win, but I must admit I don’t understand the ruling. You can’t be forced to buy a health insurance policy or else be in violation of the law and have to pay a fine. But you CAN be forced to buy a health insurance policy or else have to pay an additional tax?

honested

June 28th, 2012
10:07 pm

Conserrrrrrrvatives are all talk.
If they thought their imaginary ‘free market’ would do the trick, they would have repealed ‘McCarren-Ferguson’ a couple of decades ago.
Never heard of McCarren-Ferguson?
It is the law that allows insurance companies to limit their activities to each individual state, where they can buy (oh excuse me) ‘elect’ an insurance commissioner to be at their service and ensure they extract maximum profit (confiscation) from every premium dollar.
When it comes to health care, the ‘group’ is Americans and each should be rated along with the 300 odd million others rather than pared down to the ‘groups’ most profitable to the insurance industry and gouged appropriately.
Talk show liars pontificate about ’selling insurance across state lines’. That is not the same thing as it would just allow for low quality (covers nothing) policies that would give the illusion of coverage through low cost.
Congress could repeal McCarren-Ferguson tomorrow as nothing is stopping them, except an intravenous infusion of campaign cash from the insurance industry.

Health insurance companies REDUCE the purchasing power of your premium dollar. They don’t add anything!