Plain and simple Chief Justice John Glover Roberts, Jr. saved the credibility of the Supreme Court of the United States. By supplying the swing vote to maintain the controversial constitutionality of Obamacare, he showed that at least one branch of government can be above the mindless partisanship and hidden agendas that characterize America in the 21st century.
For those who don’t remember, America’s government is broken down into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The notion of having an odd number of branches was so that there could be legitimate checks and balances, and if any conflict between two branches existed, the tie breaker could be conducted by the third. As we stand now there is a perpetual state of disagreement between the executive branch (President Obama) and the legislative branch (Republicans in the House of Representatives). Laws aren’t getting passed, citizens are getting increasingly frustrated, and the opposing groups don’t seem poised to do anything about any of it. All of the gov’t divisions are supposed to stand above this juvenile fray, but it’s integral for the judicial branch (the Supreme Court).
Tenure for Supreme Court Justices is lifelong for a reason. The indefinite term length for these appointed judges is important so that they won’t be swayed by partisanship, societal fads, and/or pandering to the public and politicians for re-election votes and campaign donations. Without having to worry about the sceptre of job security, all of the justices can vote according to what they earnestly believe is spelled out in the Constitution, without having to worry about any external pressures. Everyone should consider this concerning Justice John Roberts very unpopular decision to vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Regardless of one’s political leaning, it should be comforting that Roberts voted what he thought was right, not what would be politically profitable. All of the judges appointed by Republican presidents voted no, all the Democratic appointed judges voted yes. This sounds a lot like what’s going on in Congress right now. Since he was appointed by George W. Bush, Roberts’ vote was completely unexpected. Isn’t it a problem when we can all know exactly how a judge is going to rule based upon what political party they are affiliated with? That notion doesn’t seem right, and flies in the face of the whole concept of checks and balances.
Roberts is getting crucified in the media as being a turncoat. Unfortunately anyone who questions his conservative credentials is quite uneducated, as he has consistently made votes that anger liberals. In fact, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has the following on his official website:As president, Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito. These justices hold dear what the great Chief Justice John Marshall called “the basis on which the whole American fabric has been erected”: a written Constitution, with real and determinate meaning.
By the importance of their decisions, The Supreme Court of the United States is the most influential policy maker in government. I may not support all of the provisions of Obamacare, but I do fully support the decision Chief Justice Roberts made to vote with his heart, not with his party. In his written decision he showed that he clearly didn’t think Obamacare was a good idea:“We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the nation’s elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.”
And he adds to that:“It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”
But his job is not to determine whether a policy is insightful, popular, or even practical. His job is to uphold the provisions of the Constitution of the United States.