Thursday, June 28, 2012
Did Chief Justice John Roberts Switch Vote At The Last Minute?
Some bloggers who follow Supreme Court opinions with more than a passing glance are finding some tell-tale signs in today's opinion affirming the Affordable Care Act that Chief Justice John Roberts had originally joined the four conservative justices (Alito, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas) in what was going to be a majority opinion striking down the Act in its entirety. Ed Whelan at the National Review online speculates on the possibility that Roberts had actually assigned the opinion to himself and then later switched on the idea that the individual mandate was actually a tax and not a penalty as the Act expressly provides, which became the basis for affirming the Act under the Congress' general power to tax. Under this scenario, his original draft opinion striking down the law was belatedly picked up and became the dissenters' joint opinion. The dissenting opinion typically distinguishes between the justice who authored it and the justices who joined the dissenting author. The dissenting opinion today named no specific author. The Volokh Conspiracy provides even more details that suggest the dissenters' opinion was originally written as a majority opinion here. Breitbart notes an AP report claiming that Justice Anthony Kennedy was visibly angry during the reading of today's opinion, which seems rather out of character for the justice viewed as being the swing vote on the Court. Breitbart's Joel Pollack echoes this sentiment in a blog post after today's decision wondering if the Chief Justice was bullied into switching his vote by Obama. Interestingly, the day after the Court conferenced following oral arguments of the case, Obama immediately went on the offensive and began attacking the Court as if he had been provided an inside account of the Court's vote in conference on the case and the vote was not favorable to the administration's position. It was as if Obama was threatening the Court if it dared to strike down Obamacare. Most people fail to grasp the fact that Barack Obama comes from the most corrupt element of the Chicago Democratic political machine. These guys will stop at nothing to get what they want. Who knows how they would have threatened Roberts. You can bet that Axelrod and Company has a dossier on every member of the Supreme Court, as well as virtually every member of Congress.