Romney Joins in Criticism of Roberts

Conservative criticism of Chief Justice John Roberts for his deciding vote in last week’s health care ruling has reached a new level. Mitt Romney said in a TV interview he saw a “political consideration” at play in the chief justice’s vote.

Conservative anger has boiled over at Justice Roberts for his decisive role in the court’s 5-4 decision last week upholding the central provision of the Affordable Care Act, with many critics contending the justice acted in a “political” way. At the same time, the chief justice has been praised by many others for his role in a ruling that helped preserve the court’s legitimacy — since the ruling did not track the court’s partisan divisions.

A number of conservative critics have seized on an unconfirmed news report that Justice Roberts switched his vote. (For a longer post about these criticisms and about an essay by legal analysts that rejects the critics’ fireworks as “ridiculous,” see Gavel Grab).

Romney, noting the reports about vote-switching, said in a CBS interview, “It gives the impression that the decision was made not based upon constitutional foundation, but instead political consideration about the relationship between the branches of government,” according to a New York Times article.

The former Massachusetts governor also called the chief justice a “very bright person” but portrayed his decision as “not accurate.”

Meanwhile “a new wave of analysis” was focusing on who could have leaked to CBS News for its report about vote-switching, according to a Huffington Post article. The article has a round-up of blog posts and news media reports examining the topic.

Unlike the other branches of government, an article in The Hill suggested, “[T]he court has a reputation as leak-proof, which is a key part of its above-the-fray image. That image has been seriously tested over the past four days….”

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