Monday, July 2, 2012

CBS News - Wait a minute ... Excuse me?


This article is about Justice Roberts switching his vote on health care at the last minute.  But as I was reading it I noticed something incongruous and had to research it.

(CBS News) 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." 

Then there was more interesting stuff but I skipped ahead in the article a bit to find this.

Because Roberts was the most senior justice in the majority to strike down the mandate, he got to choose which justice would write the Court's historic decision. He kept it for himself.

Over the next six weeks, as Roberts began to craft the decision striking down the mandate, the external pressure began to grow. Roberts almost certainly was aware of it.  More here:

And I got some brain damage because, Huh?   Roberts is the most senior justice in the majority?

First of all I thought the chief justice ALWAYS got to decide who wrote the opinion/decision for the majority ... and that often he grants the privilege to the most senior justice in the majority ... but no way is Roberts the senior justice here, right?  He's been on the court since 2005.

Bush appointed him to the court ... but I always wondered why Bush didn't appoint one of the sitting justices to the Chief Justice position and give Roberts a regular seat.  I mean, am I the only one?  I didn't hear a PEEP out of the media at the time, did you?

So I had to start doing research and I found this as it regards the "seniority" of the justices:

The Chief Justice always ranks first, regardless of when he was appointed.

Chief Justice

John G. Roberts, Jr.........................2005

Associate Justices, by Seniority

Antonin Scalia................. ...............1986
Anthony Kennedy...........................1988
Clarence Thomas............... .............1991
Ruth Bader Ginsberg.......................1993
Stephen Breyer...............................1994
Samuel Alito...................................2006
Sonia Sotomayor............................2009
Elena Kagan....................... ............2010
Right ... of course ... whenever you're dealing with the government, plain old words like "seniority" no longer have actual meaning and the government just substitutes the exact opposite meaning instead.

So now this makes at least twice that Roberts has voted with the lib justices ... on the Arizona Law and on the Health Care law ... right?  At the very least this might remind morons that when you vote for Presidink, you're also voting for Supreme Court Justices.

And now I have to research something else ... can a presidink demote the chief justice? I wonder.  But I won't have time to do the research today so if someone wants to save me the trouble, I'd appreciate it.

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