According to CBS, two sources with knowledge of the deliberations said that Roberts did indeed side with the conservative ruling in the beginning of the deliberations. He allegedly changed his vote when he was pressured by the government forces because he was fearful that the reputation of the SCOTUS would be damaged.
Usually, all decisions and deliberations are kept very secret but this particular decision has been widely circulated among secretaries, law clerks, and chamber aides.
For a month, the conservative justices tried to bring him back with Justice Kennedy leading the charge. “He [Justice Kennedy] was relentless,” one source said of Kennedy’s efforts. “He was very engaged in this.”
But this time, Roberts held firm. And so the conservatives handed him their own message which, as one justice put it, essentially translated into, “You’re on your own.”
They would not side with him on any issue after that.
“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,” reported CBS News. The liberals didn’t write an opinion with him either because they did not want the mandate under the commerce clause ruled unconstitutional.
In March, the court was poised to strike down the mandate.
In May, the threats started to seep in and Roberts began to wobble on the issue of striking down the mandate. He heard that some were saying he would be proven deceitful if he voted down the mandate because it showed he was not committed to judicial restraint.
Roberts was worried about the historical consequences of striking down this historic legislation with no prior Supreme Court cases to fall back on.
As Roberts explained in his opinion:
“The framers created a federal government of limited powers, and assigned to this Court the duty of enforcing those limits. The Court does so today. But the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people.”
Roberts then found the taxing argument as the one that could win the mandate legitimacy and tried to swing Justice Kennedy to his side.
During the arguments in March, Kennedy told Solicitor General Donald Verrilli:
“Here the government is saying that the federal government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act, and that is different from what we have in previous cases – and that changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way.”
Kennedy has a libertarian streak and when given the choice, he will side with the individual. Roberts arguments held no sway with Justice Kennedy.
Roberts tried to get the conservative justices to side with him on his language on the commerce clause and though they agreed with it, they wanted no part in joining Roberts on any part of his opinion. In all likelihood, they no longer had any desire to debate with him.
Justice Kennedy said,
“The fragmentation of power produced by the structure of our government is central to liberty, and when we destroy it, we place liberty in peril,” the dissent said. “Today’s decision should have vindicated, should have taught, this truth; instead our judgment today has disregarded it.”
And, so, that may be how our freedom was lost.
On Fox News Sunday, the NY Times commentator said he thinks Roberts is a genius and really forced the liberal Justices to come to his way of thinking on the commerce clause which he can effectively use on important issues later on. Gibberish. THIS was the important legislation and if he (Roberts) thinks that the liberals will side with him because of something that happened this past week, he must be on something.
The commentator also said that while everyone else is playing checkers, Roberts is playing chess. Maybe so, but he was checkmated on this ruling. Now the liberals hate him, the conservatives won’t forgive him, regard for SCOTUS sank in the last few days and I think it has further to go.
Roberts betrayed the American people in an effort to protect the SCOTUS reputation and in doing so, he brought it to a new low. They can’t be trusted.
Read more at CBS News