Maybe Roberts looked into the abyss and noted it was critically eyeing him, especially in the wake of Citizen's United
and the execrable Arizona v the United States
ruling from three days ago. And Roberts withdrew, not liking what he saw.
A few minutes ago, the Supreme Court handed down one of the most important rulings in its history and one of the most surprising: After judicial activist blathering by Scalia about broccoli, the High Court handed down its decision, largely along party lines, to uphold the Affordable Care Act, or ACA
What was surprising was that the swing vote wasn't Justice Anthony Kennedy, who votes with the court's right wingers at least 80% of the time, but Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts joined Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg to form the majority opinion while, typically, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito ruled to strike down the health care law.
All that remains to be seen now is how fast the Jim DeMints, Michele Bachmanns and Steve Kings denounce Bush appointee Roberts and to complain for the first time ever that he was a federal judge for just two years before being nominated to succeed Rehnquist as Chief Justice. For good measure, maybe Peter King will denounce him as a Muslim and right wing bloggers will accuse him of being a homosexual.
It'll also be amusing to hear Mitt Romney's tepid response to the upholding of a law obviously based on his own piece of shit health care "reform" here in Massachusetts. If he denounces the ruling, then he denounces his much-ballyhooed RomneyCare. If he cheers the ruling, then he winds up cheering President Obama's signature piece of domestic legislation. Either way, his response will be just as wimpy and pandering as it was after the Arizona v the United States
So El Pandero, to borrow a phrase from Jon Stewart, will do as Romney does: Huddle with his advisors and decide to say a little or a lot of nothing. Romney painted himself into a corner years ago over this issue and he knows he's been checkmated by both the administration and the Supreme Court.
Speaking for myself, the only good thing about this ruling is in it serving as a spiked cudgel with which to beat conservatives and libertarians over their pointy heads all day long. But at the end of the day, we're left with a health care system that insisted from the start in keeping already bloated HMOs and Big Pharma on the playing field, leaves an onerous US tax code-enforced mandate in place (that the SCOTUS said we can simply ignore although it's unclear whether they have any sway over the existing federal tax code since it wasn't directly up for a ruling) and does little if anything about runaway health care premiums.
The next step, obviously, is in electing enough real Democrats and progressives to Congress this November to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a single payer health care system.
But, since we're indisputably the shit-stupidest nation in galactic history, there's about as much chance of that happening as Rush Limbaugh winning a platinum medal in women's figure skating.
But for now, those with preexisting conditions are covered and are guaranteed reimbursements if HMOs don't spend at least 80% of premiums on health care coverage, virtually the only things in the ACA worth keeping. But the fight isn't over and the only thing the SCOTUS has done is give some breathing room for people who have difficulty breathing and would otherwise be in danger of having coverage jerked out from under their feet by health providers whose shareholders have a problem with actually fulfilling its alleged function.