If John Roberts changed his position on Obamacare to protect the court from being called political, the initial polls are not encouraging

It is possible that the Supreme Court's approval rating would have fallen anyway as the Obama administration and Democrats would have savaged them if they struck down Obamacare, but this can't be encouraging.  From Rasmussen Reports:
Public opinion of the Supreme Court has grown more negative since the highly publicized ruling on the president’s health care law was released. A growing number now believe that the high court is too liberal and that justices pursue their own agenda rather than acting impartially.
week ago,  36% said the court was doing a good or an excellent job. That’s down to 33% today. However, the big change is a rise in negative perceptions. Today, 28% say the Supreme Court is doing a poor job. That’s up 11 points over the past week. . . .
Thirty-seven percent (37%) now believe the Supreme Court is too liberal, while 22% think it's too conservative. A week ago, public opinion was much more evenly divided:  32% said it was too liberal and 25% said too conservative. . . .
Jan Crawford at CBS is someone who I have met and I think that she comes across as quite credible.  She claims to have two well placed sources who say that Roberts changed his position as a result of outside pressure on the court.
Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court's four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama's health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.
Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said. Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy - believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law - led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold.
"He was relentless," one source said of Kennedy's efforts. "He was very engaged in this."
But this time, Roberts held firm. And so the conservatives handed him their own message which, as one justice put it, essentially translated into, "You're on your own." . . .
Some of the conservatives, such as Justice Clarence Thomas, deliberately avoid news articles on the Court when issues are pending (and avoid some publications altogether, such as The New York Times). They've explained that they don't want to be influenced by outside opinion or feel pressure from outlets that are perceived as liberal.
But Roberts pays attention to media coverage. As Chief Justice, he is keenly aware of his leadership role on the Court, and he also is sensitive to how the Court is perceived by the public.
There were countless news articles in May warning of damage to the Court - and to Roberts' reputation - if the Court were to strike down the mandate. Leading politicians, including the President himself, had expressed confidence the mandate would be upheld. . . . .
The funny thing is that while the liberals on the court talk about giving respect to legislative decisions, it is clear that they only give respect to decisions by liberal legislatures.  For example, the court just recently struck down a decision to give life sentences without parole to juveniles who commit especially heinous acts of murder.  The court had previously struck down the death penalty for 17 year olds, and states moved to have life in prison. Now that has been struck down.  

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Blogger Chas said...

If he changed his position on Obamacare to protect the court from being called political then that was a self-defeating political act on his part. The justices are supposed to be above politics and not play political games with their decisions. Roberts is looking sillier by the day.

7/01/2012 5:27 PM  

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