A Profile in Courage and Justice Roberts
Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I expected a wave of Republican jubilation that would even rock my island home here on Borneo. Reluctantly, I turned on CNN just as they switched to the U.S. broadcast from the London feed we receive here.
Holding out a flicker of hope – and I do mean the glow from candle that has just been extinguished – I waited with the thought that perhaps Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy might vote for the healthcare. I think he shifts his vote from the conservative majority, not from conscience or a constitutional basis, but from a very rare alignment of the moons around Saturn.
I watched knowingly and a little tired; it was 10 P.M. here, as CNN announced the decision that healthcare law was defeated, and then resurrected and by, of all people, Chief Justice John Roberts, who voted with the liberal court.
“No, that couldn’t be right,” I thought, as CNN must have screwed up again. The network did not change its mind about the law being up held, but I waited for a correction about Justice Roberts. (We only receive one American channel here, so I could not switch to others to confirm what they were saying.)
CNN then babbled humorously about how they made the first mistake and to prove their point had a reporter read from a sheaf of papers they said was the actual decision. They kept on insisting that it was Justice Roberts who cast the swing vote as if nobody would believe them. I didn’t.
How could the Patton of Conservatives, who rolls over the liberals in a multitude of decisions, the protector of banks, big business and the other unholy gods possibly join and uphold one of the most important decisions of this century? Everybody was in agreement. He had lost his ever loving mind.
One of the more amusing things about his lone opinion was that he called it a tax. Yet, he still voted to uphold the law even though the conservatives are vehemently opposed to anything with an “X,” like same sex marriage. Justice Roberts could have used the tax reasoning to strike down the law, yet he twisted it around to support it. Another unbelievable irony.
I am not sure exactly why Justice Roberts voted the way he did. I would like to believe he was like Edmund G. Ross, who voted against the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson knowing he would lose his re-election. But, the only thing Justice Roberts has to miss will be free dinners at speaking engagements from conservative groups. He need not worry. The liberals are probably already offering more than the usual hot dogs and baked bean cuisine served at their functions. (Mom always told me she was a Republican because the food was better.)
I am going to believe he sat down at his desk and thought about the country. I am going to believe he saw the millions of people who are and will be rescued from the clutches of a money-grubbing healthcare system. I am going to believe he saw the faces of Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton and Jefferson, not on dollar bills, but on the faces of the American people. I am going to believe he set aside his personal beliefs, as difficult as it probably was, and decided for the country. A profile in courage.
At the end of the movie Casablanca, Louis and Rick walk off to join the Free French in North Africa and Rick says: “Louie this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.“ To Justice John Roberts, I say the same – and welcome to the liberal cause.