(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.In addition to providing a slobberingly nauseating paean to Justice Kennedy (he's "strong," "consistent," "forceful and engaged,"—three guesses who the primary source was for Crawford's story), the story really feeds into the new Roberts-as-traitor narrative. Consider this nugget:
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."
Some of the conservatives, such as Justice Clarence Thomas, deliberately avoid news articles on the court when issues are pending (and avoid some publications altogether, such as The New York Times). They've explained that they don't want to be influenced by outside opinion or feel pressure from outlets that are perceived as liberal.Yes, instead of reading the liberal media, Thomas and Scalia hang out at dinners held in their honor sponsored by the law firm that argued the case against the ACA. They also headline fundraisers at the reactionary Federalist Society. And, in the case of Thomas, they have wives bringing in significant income for lobbying efforts against the law.
But Roberts pays attention to media coverage.[...] [H}e also is sensitive to how the court is perceived by the public.
There were countless news articles in May warning of damage to the court—and to Roberts' reputation—if the court were to strike down the mandate. Leading politicians, including the president himself, had expressed confidence the mandate would be upheld.
Boy, it's a good thing the true conservatives aren't reading the New York Times, and that they're impervious to all that politickin'.