I presume the right wing is foaming at the mouth today over the Chief Justice.
The GOP was getting ready to celebrate. Their spokespersons were at the high Court, waiting for Obamacare to be struck down, ready to come out of the Court and make a prepared statement to the media. "The American people have triumphed and our Constitution is secure blah blah blah."
The Chief Justice stabbed them in the back. I know my goombah Antonim was foaming. Too bad. He’s a fascist anyway. We Italians know them when we see them. Alito immediately got on the line to the Pope. Clarence Thomas shook his head - he hasn’t made a sound in Court in years.
And then we come to Justice Kennedy. He who was supposed to be the new "swing vote", the key player whose vote could carry the liberal or conservative wings to victory. His swing vote was to replace that of Sandra Day O’Connor. He is more conservative than Justice O’Connor but is considered the most moderate Justice of the conservative wing
Kennedy had the chance to be more than a hack, to make a mark - but no. He was the fifth vote on Citizens United and voted yesterday with the minority. In the end he is just another Reagan appointee and while he has had the chance to rise to greatness, he has not.
It was the Chief Justice who surprised. He found a way. Don’t call it a mandate - call it a tax.
Why did he even bother to search for a way to support Obamacare? Everyone knew the Court was going to strike it down. He knew how he was supposed to vote. I mean, the party was already underway. It would have been so easy for him to vote "aye".
But he didn’t. And now everyone is looking for reasons.
Maybe he was concerned that another 5 - 4 split over healthcare was going to cast the Court in a very bad light with folks. Maybe he is concerned we might think our Justices were just political hacks. Once we come to that conclusion the Court loses all respect in the eyes of millions. Still, the appointment process to the Court has become a political circus, entertaining us every few years.
Perhaps the Chief Justice is concerned that the "Roberts Court" is becoming just another piece of the right wing machine. Maybe he is concerned about having his named sullied or mentioned in the same breath with the likes of John Boehner or Eric Cantor. Maybe he is concerned over the right assuming they have his vote in their hip pocket.
Maybe he was thinking of Earl Warren known for the sweeping decisions of the Warren Court, which ended school segregation and transformed many areas of American law, especially regarding the rights of the accused, ending public-school-sponsored prayer, and requiring "one-man-one vote" rules of apportionment. He made the Court a power center on a more even base with Congress and the presidency.
I mean, who was going to remember the Roberts Court other than with contempt?
Or maybe he had a Thomas a Becket moment when he had to choose between being Chancellor of England for Henry II or defending the honor of the church when Henry appointed him Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry assumed Becket's vote would always be with the crown. It was not.
After yesterday I’m sure there are those on the right muttering as did Henry - "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?".