NYT's Liptak Sees Furious, 'Bitter,' Angry Conservatives After ObamaCare

New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak reported Tuesday on conservatives who are apparently bitter and angry at Chief Justice John Roberts for his shocking decision to uphold ObamaCare on the basis of the government's power to tax: "Roberts Makes a Getaway From the Scorn."

Liptak characterized conservative opposition to Roberts as purely emotional responses.

The day after Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the Supreme Court’s four-member liberal wing to uphold the health care overhaul law, he appeared before a conference of judges and lawyers in Pennsylvania. A questioner wanted to know whether he was “going to Disney World.”

Chief Justice Roberts said he had a better option: he was about to leave for Malta, where he would teach a two-week class on the history of the Supreme Court. “Malta, as you know, is an impregnable island fortress,” he said on Friday, according to news reports. “It seemed like a good idea.”

The chief justice was correct to anticipate a level of fury unusual even in the wake of a blockbuster decision with vast political, practical and constitutional consequences. The criticism came from all sides. And it was directed not at the court as whole or even at the majority in the 5-to-4 decision. It was aimed squarely at him.


The attacks from the right were counterbalanced -- by more attacks. They came from liberals unhappy with how the chief justice had reached his conclusion.


But some on the right seemed particularly bitter, rejecting the notion that Chief Justice Roberts was, in the words of The Journal’s editorial page on Monday, “a battle-loser but war-winner.” His decision, the editorial went on, “is far more dangerous, and far more political, even than it first appeared last week.”

The dissatisfaction of conservatives grew as they studied the decision and found clues that the chief justice might initially have been in the majority to strike down the law, only to switch sides. A report from CBS News on Sunday that he had changed his mind added to the anger.


But the possibility that conservatives had victory within reach only to lose it seemed to infuriate some of them. The CBS News report, attributed to two sources with “specific knowledge of the deliberations,” appeared to give voice to the frustrations of people associated with the court’s conservative wing. It was written by Jan Crawford, whose 2007 book, “Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court,” was warmly received by conservatives.

So how does the anger felt by betrayed conservatives compare to the liberal raging after the
Supreme Court's January 2010 decision on Citizens United? We don't know, because Liptak didn't feel the
need at the time
to psychoanalyze the millions of liberals angry and bitter about the Court's sweeping 5-4 campaign finance decision in favor of free speech for corporations.