What SCOTUS Justice Roberts Fears About an Obama Re-Election
by hddun2008, Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 02:34:10 PM EDT
When SCOTUS Chief Justice Roberts voted that the Affordable Healthcare Law (Obamacare) was constitutional, I along with many liberal/progressives were shocked. Not so much that the vote carried 5 to 4 but the reason that Justice Roberts gave for his Yea vote on this landmark law. To this point in time and since his selection to the court Mr. Roberts could be counted on by the rightwing conservatives in America to vote as an "Right Wing Activist Juror". For years these same conservatives have shouted loudly that what America needs are "strict constructionist constitutional SCOTUS Justices". Then when it seemed as though they would get their wish, the SCOTUS got a 5 to 4 conservative majority and it went to work as a rightwing "Activist" court with Roberts leading the way taking America back to 1890. The Roberts Court has turned activist and has moved to strike down laws which were put in place for over one hundred years.
Then the rightwingers hit a bump in the road when Justice Roberts voted with the liberal Justices on the court and voted to make Obamacare the law of the land. Why the dramatic turn to the left for the man who to this point was the point man on of the most conservative voting SCOTUS in United States history? Not since the most obnoxious court rulings of the period in the SCOTUS of 1870 to 1900 which fixed a second class citizenship status upon the negro race in the United States law for the next 80 years until the 1940s and 1950s when SCOTUS ended segregation once and for all under Chief Justice Earl Warren.
Chief Justice Roberts made liberals and progressives wonder why would he join the liberals on the court to establish a healthcare system available to all citizens of the United States and guaranteed by a mandantory membership system. Conservatives were outraged at Justice Roberts who they felt stabbed them in the back even though it was the GOP who first proposed a mandantory healthcare system back in the early 1990's. It was used as the model for Obamacare when enacted into law in 2010.
The Chief Justice offered his opinion of support for Obamacare squarely on the Constitution's explicit support of the right of the Federal government to enact taxation to pay for its programs and operations. Good enough. Even though that is taking a strict construction of the Constitution as basis to accent to this hugely important law.
Questions were raised by Mr. Roberts Yea vote on the law. Some wanted to know if Roberts was in fact turning to the left on social legislation. That idea is fairly weak. As a dogmatic Catholic follower of the darkly sinister Opus Dei cult, it is highly doubtful that Roberts could ever be viewed even as a left leaner. One can only guess as to why Bush 41 and Bush 43 (who are desended New England protestant stock ) would pack the SCOTUS with hardcore Catholic Justices.
I would like to submit another option as to Chief Justice Roberts sudden turn about to his lifelong rightwing conservative training, teaching, and personal outlook. Perhaps the Chief Justice is hedging his bet on the re-election of Barack Obama. What does this mean. Consider your political science courses in college. The professors stressed that over the years with a few exceptions, Chief Justices like to leave a legal / landmark legal legacy. Our very first Chief Justice John Marshall is still studied by high school civics classes and college government students two-hundred and fifty years after the "Marshall Supreme Court" literally invented judicial review of the laws of Congress and the operations of the Executive Branch. All of us remember the decisions of "Warren Court" within most of our lifetimes. President Eisenhower appointed Gov. Earl Warren as a conservative mind to the SCOTUS to enhance its conservative strength. Then boom, Warren turned straight away to going forward with the most liberal activist SCOTUS of the 20th century.
Now we have a "Roberts Court". I would submit that Chief Justice Roberts does not want the court which has is name to be known for no landmark decisions. He probably noted the outrage when the 5 to 4 ruling in Citizens United struck down a 100 year old law. Way too many decisions are 5 to 4 in the Roberts Court. This is not only bad in the present but when law students 50 years in the future study the SCOTUS will they repeatedly say that Chief Justice Roberts was a terrible Chief Justice who could not marshall his team and get more unified decisions. In 1954 when Chief Justice Earl Warren decided to once and for all rebuke the 1890 Supreme Court decision of Plessey vs. USA which allowed Southern states to segregate their schools using the most jaded of legal reasoning --"Separate But Equal". Earl Warren by 1950 knew that there were NO school systems which were "separate but equal". It was a sham that had existed since the Supreme Court decision of 1890 and in 1954 everyone knew it but the Southern states dug in and refused to end its segregation. Chief Justice Earl Warren decided to end it and he went to every one of the other Justices and begged, bargained and cajoled them to vote to end segregation. The decision in 1954 of "Brown vs. Kansas City Board of Education" was the case that Warren wanted. HIS court voted 9 to 0 to end segregation no matter where it existed in the United States.
Chief Justice Roberts in my view still looks like a spineless wimp. He should have taken the 4 Justices who voted to end Obamacare to the proverbial "woodshed" and gotten a 9 to 0 decision. He may now realize that he will never be a highly regarded. I would hope that he fears becoming like Chief Justice Rehnquist who was loved by Conservatives but to my view will never be a highly regarded Chief Justice because he never brought forward legal problems and then established new ground with innovative legal principles, he only obstructed access to the Supreme Court by those who needed it most--i.e. people due to circumstances are locked out of the courthouses and forbidden justice--the perfect example of which are millions of black people in America--Earl Warren is considered the greatest Chief Justice because he saw injustice and set about to destroy it. Chief Justice Roberts up to the Obamacare ruling had made a Supreme Court with his name on it into a puppet for corporations and those who want to deny rights to people who need the court's help.
We shall see if Mr. Roberts wants his namesake SCOTUS to be studied by history and government classes for the future. His court has be activist when asked to make corporations into people (a ridiculous idea which almost guarantees that the Roberts Court will be a laughingstock in 50 years or so) and other commercial cases with little or no impact on history. The Obamacare case is different. Chief Justice may feel that if Obama is re-elected and gets a chance to pick at least one more Justice then the Roberts Court will be in a real mess. Should he continue to vote with the conservative ilk such as Scalia then that would put the Chief Justice Roberts on the losing side of every 5 to 4 decision. Can you image the humiliation of that event to anyone with a smattering of self pride and ESPECIALLY THE SUPREME COURT'S OWN CHIEF JUSTICE.
Future history students would marvel that this intelligent and persuasive man could not gather together a cohesive team and win within its own group of just 9 people. Congress has 535 members and they can occasionally pass a law--then how come Chief Justice Robert is such a BAD MANAGER HE CANNOT GET A WIN ON THE SCOREBOARD--THAT IS A REAL LAUGHER!!!
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