Today the U.S. Supreme Court decision was to uphold the healthcare reform act dubbed “Obamacare.” U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was the only conservative on the court to vote in favor of the case. The ruling was yet another example of a 5/4 decision handed down by the court.
Chief Justice Roberts has seen his court split on all of the important decisions (i.e. Citizen’s United) made as of late. The divide has been down party lines with conservative associate justices expressing extreme views to the press that could embarrass the court and call into question their decision making process. Voting to uphold the healthcare bill was a bold move to show the American people that Chief Justice Roberts could side with the liberals justices on his court when the facts called for such a judgment.
Laws, which are so publicly controversial, have in the past been decided with a majority vote. Laws which are decided on a 5/4 vote are often more subject to review by future courts. Chief Justice Roberts is a young man with many years left to him as Chief Justice. He would be wise to attempt to work with both sides of the court to ensure that decision have a higher majority of justices voting either for or against high profile cases.
Next year will bring many more high profile cases that will involve strong public emotions. The question remains can Chief Justice Roberts draw down the public discord promoted by his more conservative associate justices. Will he be able to convince those conservative associate justices to base their decisions on the facts of the cases and the U.S. Constitution rather than their own radical political views?
Some groups are already suggesting radical restrains on the conservative justices such as a code of conduct, impeachment proceedings, or even packing of the court to limit their influence on future decisions.
On the political side of this decision
President Obama is having a very good day today. He can now devote more of his time toward issues such as job creation and immigration over the remaining time before the election.
Mitt Romney on the other hand will be devoting his time attacking the healthcare act in order to divert voters for the fact that he was a leader in shipping jobs overseas while he was running a major business. Romney was also more than happy to attack immigrates without providing a roadmap on how he would fix the current system. Unless you count of course, the idea of shooting immigrates as they cross the border.