Did Roberts just give Obama the bird? – UPDATED

Just a thought that occurred to me after I’d done some reading around the internets, particularly this, this and this.

Is it possible that Roberts, concerned by threats from the left that they would de-legitimize the court if it struck down Obamacare, reasoned as he did to both give the GOP a workable means of repealing the thing through legislation while also utterly defanging those threats? After all, if you look at the people screaming about the court yesterday, they’re all purring like kittens on twitter, and calling SCOTUS “humble” and “judicious.” There’s no more talk of “partisan, activist judges” today.

Are the Dems and the press going to wake up in the middle of the night, think about that and cringe?

Hey, anything is possible at this point.

People don’t seem to realize that Roberts’ decision has essentially, in an election year, handed this issue back to the voters, where it belongs, while also giving the legislature some room to maneuver. Obamacare was rammed through against the wishes of the majority. Now, the majority can unram it or solidify it, as it chooses, but at least what happens now will happen with the consent of the governed. Bottom line: System worked, Roberts worked it.

I get the sense that some are unable to see any victory that does not come with a stark pronouncement made at the bang of a gavel. But we ought not to consider court rulings as an optimal form of representation.

I’m not saying Roberts has applied a political calculus to his opinion. Perhaps he has just answered those threats in a creative way. Giving him the bird, so to speak.

Indeed. And as everyone knows,

UPDATE I:
Slate’s Tom Scocca: Obama Wins the Battle, Roberts Wins the War

Yes, Roberts voted to uphold the individual mandate, joining the court’s liberal wing to give President Obama a 5-4 victory on his signature piece of legislation. Right-wing partisans are crying treason; left-wing partisans saw their predictions of a bitter, party-line defeat undone.

But the health care law was, ultimately, a pretext. This was a test case for the long-standing—but previously fringe—campaign to rewrite Congress’ regulatory powers under the Commerce Clause.

Another way of looking at it, Is Roberts Playing Bridge?:

Bridge is a complex game with a significant trust component.

I believe Roberts is playing Bridge here.

I’m guessing (yeah, I said I’m trying not to speculate) that his reading of the liberal justices was such that if he sided with the manifest majority, and struck down only the funding vehicle, the law would survive and be shored up through other, more devious measures.

By correctly classifying the funding vehicle as a tax, he has played a card that exposes the liberal reality and invites a response from Congress as well as the electorate.

By acknowledging that the *electorate* is responsible for its political choices and therefore its politicians and therefore, ultimately, its laws, and by making it clear that bad law and bad policy may not, in fact, violate the Constitution, since the Constitution was not written with the explicit injunction that “legislators may not write stupid laws,” he plays the card that clarifies the path to eliminating not only the heinous Health Care Sabotage machine, but also the fools and crooks who gave it to us.

Roberts is looking across the table at us now.

Frank Weathers has Many Catholic reactions and also links to this.

UPDATE II:
Ezra Klein: The Political Genius of John Roberts

By voting with the liberals to uphold the Affordable Care Act, Roberts has put himself above partisan reproach. No one can accuse Roberts of ruling as a movement conservative. He’s made himself bulletproof against insinuations that he’s animated by party allegiances.

But by voting with the conservatives on every major legal question before the court, he nevertheless furthered the major conservative projects before the court — namely, imposing limits on federal power. And by securing his own reputation for impartiality, he made his own advocacy in those areas much more effective. If, in the future, Roberts leads the court in cases that more radically constrain the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce, today’s decision will help insulate him from criticism. And he did it while rendering a decision that Democrats are applauding.

Da Tech Guy has a big roundup that Comes full circle and declares: “it’s up to the voters”.

The court gives the issue to the voters. The system worked.

Or, as Krauthammer says, Roberts has said to the poeple, “this is your job, not mine.”

UPDATE III: I am feeling stubbornly optimistic

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About Elizabeth Scalia