Roberts Was Influenced by the “Greenhouse Effect”



There has been all sorts of speculation on the web about whether or when Chief Justice Roberts switched his vote to join the liberals in upholding the mandate. Jan Crawford of Face the Nation has a good article on the switch based on some insider sources. It does seem to indicate that Roberts cared about what the Linda Greenhouses of the world and others would think about him and his legacy.

Obviously, Sebelius was Chief Justice Roberts’ effort to build a legacy. On the one hand, he wants to be seen as an intellectually sound conservative jurist who is not afraid to impose limits on national power. And his commerce and spending power holdings do reject some rather expansive interpretations of the Constitution offered by the government. Yet, on the other hand he longs to be known for judicial restraint—the umpire who simply calls balls and strikes rather than participating in the contest.

Judicial restraint is a virtue that too many judges lack. But if Roberts takes a close look in the mirror, he will see that he is clad not in the umpire’s neutral garb, but a colorful uniform identical to that worn by Team Ginsburg.

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