Sunday, June 24, 2012
Healthcare Decision leads to DEFINING week for Obama, Justice Roberts
The Hill John Roberts’ legacy as chief justice will likely be defined over the next few days as the Supreme Court will decide whether to uphold, or destroy President Obama’s signature healthcare law.
One way or the other, history will be made this week for Obama’s presidency, and the Roberts court.
Roberts, a hero to the right, will surely attract criticism no matter what the court decides. That will put Roberts, who was easily confirmed in 2005 with the approval of 22 Democrats, in an unusual position.
Should the court uphold healthcare reform, conservatives will cry foul.
Even if Justice Anthony Kennedy, the so-called swing vote, sides with the left-wing Justices, Roberts might be criticized from GOP activists for not securing a majority on such a big ruling.
If the Justices strike down the law, liberals will surely accuse Roberts and his colleagues of a partisan bias.
Obama and Roberts have had a fascinating relationship, though calling it a relationship might be a stretch.
While serving in the Senate in 2005, Obama, impressed with Roberts’s intellect, reportedly considered voting to confirm him.
Pete Rouse, then Obama’s chief of staff, urged him to reconsider, noting that a yes vote could cripple a possible presidential bid down the road. Obama ultimately voted no on Roberts, who was backed by liberals such as ex-Sen. Russ Feingold (Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.).
More than three years later, Roberts swore Obama into office — on two separate occasions. After flubbing a few words in the public ceremony, Roberts got it right in a do-over swearing-in ceremony a couple days later at the White House.Roberts’s mistake was laughed off by both men as they exchanged pleasantries.
But there were few smiles in 2010 when Obama chastised the Supreme Court for its Citizens United ruling during his State of the Union address. Most of the Justices, including Roberts, were in attendance.