Roberts to US: Killing ObamaCare Is Your Job, Not Mine
He hates the law, but he's worried about court's reputation: Krauthammer
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2012 1:29 PM CDT
Chief Justice John Roberts in a 2010 photo.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(Newser) – ObamaCare must surely offend John Roberts' conservative sensibilities, writes Charles Krauthammer, so why the stunning court ruling? Because as chief justice, Roberts "sees himself as uniquely entrusted with the custodianship of the court's legitimacy," Krauthammer theorizes in the Washington Post. If the justices struck down the law, it would have been seen as a judicial power grab, and Roberts is sensitive to the charge. (Krauthammer blames the "liberal Warren and Burger courts" for starting the "arrogation of power" slide, particularly with Roe v. Wade.)

Roberts found himself a legal compromise by labeling the mandate a tax. Krauthammer thinks it's "a dodge, and a flimsy one at that," and he suspects Roberts would have ruled differently had he not been chief justice. The result, though, is that ObamaCare lives, and the only way it gets killed now is if the US elects a new president and Congress to repeal it. "That’s undoubtedly what Roberts is telling the nation: Your job, not mine. I won’t make it easy for you." Read Krauthammer's full column here. Or check out another theory on what Roberts might be up to.