Almost no one was able to predict that Chief Justice John Roberts would join the Supreme Court's liberal bloc in voting to uphold the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate — which means a lot of the coverage, especially from the right wing, has focused on what caused Roberts to vote the way he did. Because, sure, it could be that he genuinely believed in the law's constitutionality, but isn't it more likely that he did it to please his masters at the Washington Post?
Below, four proposed explanations for the Roberts ruling:
Roberts Did It for the New York Times
John Roberts didn't overturn the ACA because... ...he cares deeply what the editorial pages of the New York Times and Washington Post think.
Proposed by: Bobby Jindal
Key quote: "I don't know whether he was just playing to the editorial pages of the Washington Post and The New York Times. Extremely disappointing. Never would have predicted he would've been the one to write the opinion. Never would have predicted that it would have been a 5-4 split with these five and those four."
President Obama Threatened to 'Delegitimize the Supreme Court' if It Invalidated the ACA, So Roberts Switched His Opinion
John Roberts didn't overturn the ACA because... ...well, actually, he did — but switched his opinion at the last minute after President Obama and "unidentified circles" threatened to "delegitimize the Supreme Court." ("You gotta nice court here, Johnny... would be a shame if it were... delegitimized.")
Eugene Volokh David Bernstein
Key quote: "Back in May, there were rumors floating around relevant legal circles that a key vote was taking place, and that Roberts was feeling tremendous pressure from unidentified circles to vote to uphold the mandate. Did Roberts originally vote to invalidate the mandate on commerce clause grounds, and to invalidate the Medicaid expansion, and then decide later to accept the tax argument and essentially rewrite the Medicaid expansion (which, as I noted, citing Jonathan Cohn, was the sleeper issue in this case) to preserve it? If so, was he responding to the heat from President Obama and others, preemptively threatening to delegitimize the Court if it invalidated the ACA? The dissent, along with the surprising way that Roberts chose to uphold both the mandate and the Medicaid expansion, will inevitably feed the rumor mill."
John Roberts' Epilepsy Medication Made Him Stupid
John Roberts didn't overturn the ACA because... ...in the past he's been on medication for epileptic seizures, medication that makes him basically a liberal moron, which you can tell from the "cognitive dissociation" in his writing.
Proposed by: Michael Savage, Matt Drudge
Key quote: "Let's talk about Roberts. I'm going to tell you something that you're not going to hear anywhere else, that you must pay attention to. It's well known that Roberts, unfortunately for him, has suffered from epileptic seizures. Therefore he has been on medication. Therefore neurologists will tell you that medication used for seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, can introduce mental slowing, forgetfulness and other cognitive problems. And if you look at Roberts' writings you can see the cognitive dissociation in what he is saying."
David Axelrod Threatened to Kill Roberts' Family
John Roberts didn't overturn the ACA because... ..."they" threatened his family. Luckily, a brave Secret Service agent heard President Obama and David Axelrod discussing the threats, and soon Ax will be arrested, and Roberts will switch sides.
Proposed by: "Harry" at ToBeRight
Key quote: "How could John Roberts side with the liberals? The individual mandate is so clearly unconstitutional – even to a layperson – how could it be?
Kind of like a Vince Flynn book. Someone got to Roberts. I bet they got to him and told him he has to vote this way or members of his family – kids, wife, parents, whoever – were going to be killed.
Later this afternoon, it's going to come out that Roberts was coerced. A Secret Service agent overheard Obama and Axelrod discussing the Roberts blackmail. He managed to get them on tape discussing it. Later this afternoon, the whole story will come out, Roberts will issue his REAL opinion, and Obama and Axelrod will be taken away in handcuffs."