Did The Supreme Court Spring A Leak?
Much is being made of the theory that Chief Justice John Roberts switched his position on the health care law at the last minute. Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times suggests word leaked out a month ago about how he was swaying.
For the theory that Chief Justice Roberts pulled back late in the process from declaring the mandate unconstitutional, the best evidence might be external to the opinion, rather than inside it. Around Memorial Day, a number of conservative columnists and bloggers suddenly began accusing the “liberal media” of putting “the squeeze to Justice Roberts,” as George Will expressed the thought in his Washington Post column. “They are waging an embarrassingly obvious campaign, hoping he will buckle beneath the pressure of their disapproval and declare Obamacare constitutional,” Mr. Will wrote. Although the court has been famously leakproof, Mr. Will and some of the others are well connected at the court, and I wondered at the time whether they had picked up signals that the chief justice, thought reliable after the oral argument two months earlier, was now wavering, and whether their message was really intended for him.