Roberts Saves Obama’s Neck…and the Court’s Honor

06/28/2012 2:36 pm EST

Focus: POLITICS

Howard Gold

Founder & President, GoldenEgg Investing

The chief justice made an interesting legal argument to sidestep the ever-more-political debate going on about both Obamacare and the Supreme Court itself, writes MoneyShow editor-at-large Howard R. Gold, also of The Independent Agenda.

The stunning decision by the US Supreme Court to uphold the most controversial part of the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, was a remarkably subtle bit of legal reasoning.

But it was also a remarkably crafty piece of political maneuvering by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., a strongly conservative George W. Bush appointee who has just handed his Democratic successor a huge victory.

Before I go further, I’ve always have had deep reservations about health-care reform, principally that we just can’t afford another huge entitlement program while the existing ones are about to bleed us dry.

But by siding with the four liberal Justices—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan—Chief Justice Roberts may have rescued the Court’s credibility at a time when it has come increasingly under fire for the partisan character of some of its rulings and Justices, notably conservative Antonin Scalia.

The Chief Justice also sided with liberals in a second key decision this week, overturning much of Arizona’s incendiary immigration law, along with fellow conservative Anthony Kennedy, who wrote that opinion.

In health care, the Chief Justice not only sided with the liberals on a key point—he put his own name and the prestige of his office behind the opinion.

And he did so without violating a key conservative principle: that the Commerce clause of the Constitution—that Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce—has been used too broadly by Democrats to justify a gigantic expansion of government since the New Deal.

  • Read the rest of this article at The Independent Agenda. You can also follow Howard Gold on Twitter @howardrgold.