What John Roberts Is Up To

Commentators see ulterior, conservative motive behind Roberts' vote
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2012 1:56 PM CDT
What John Roberts Is Up To
In this 2010 file photo, Chief Justice John G. Roberts is seen during the group portrait at the Supreme Court Building.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

John Roberts upheld the Affordable Care Act today, and "in doing so, he gave a lot of people who don't pay attention a reason to celebrate him on Twitter," writes Mobutu Sese Seko of Gawker. "They're idiots." Seko and some other observers believe Roberts had a secret plan. Yes, his ruling hands Obama a superficial victory, but that "was, ultimately, a pretext," writes Tom Scocca of Slate. His real goal: to gut the commerce clause, and fundamentally cripple Congress' ability to regulate.

Roberts ruled that the victory was a result of Congress' power to tax, not the commerce clause. In so doing he's rolling back long-held precedent, and severely curtailing Congress' power. "It is what Roberts has been pursuing ever since he signed up with the Federalist Society," Scocca writes. "Roberts' genius was in pushing this through without attaching it to the coattails of an ugly, narrow partisan victory." Seko also notes that by using the tax power, he's "handed the Republican Party a talking point." The ACA is now, officially, a tax. (More John Roberts stories.)

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