Senator Mike Lee on “Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare.”

June 18th, 2013

Senator Mike Lee has released a short Kindle book providing a “conservative critique of the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling.”  In an interview on The Blaze, Lee said that a “campaign of intimidation” caused the Chief Justice to change his mind. Lee cited Senate Democrats, Pat Leahy in particular, who charged that voting to strike down the law “would diminish his legacy.”

Lee continued to say that he has “no evidence” that Roberts was being blackmailed, but said that doesn’t mean Roberts wasn’t under any kind of “direct pressure.”

But even if he wasn’t, Lee reminded the Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers were open in their warnings to the court, “denigrating the authority of the house,” and saying the Supreme Court would become irrelevant if it failed to uphold ObamaCare.

Here is a snippet from Lee’s book:

While explanations abound about what motivated the switch, most of them seem to focus (in one way or another) on the theory that Roberts was motivated by a desire to protect the Supreme Court’s credibility as an institution. According to this theory, the Chief Justice might have been influenced by public statements— made by President Obama, Democratic leaders in Congress, liberal political commentators, and others— anticipatorily condemning the Court for what many suspected

would be a decision invalidating the ACA. Many of these criticisms shared in common a consistent theme: By invalidating the ACA, the Court would do irreparable harm to its reputation as a neutral arbiter of cases brought before it, especially if it struck down the ACA by a five-to-four vote, with all Republican nominees voting one way and all Democratic nominees voting the other. Some variations of these statements were directed specifically at Chief Justice Roberts, encouraging him— as the chief judicial officer of the United States— to save not only the credibility of the Court, but also his own good name, which would be known for good or for ill depending on what he did in this case. He would not, the warnings suggested, want to find himself on the losing side of history in invalidating a landmark piece of legislation that was duly enacted by Congress and signed into law by the president. Many now believe that such criticisms— or at least the sentiments expressed in them— played a key role in convincing the Chief Justice to switch his vote.


Lee reinforces several points that Randy Barnett made in The Disdain Campaign about the campaign aimed at influencing the Chief Justice.

You  may recall that after NFIB was handed down, Glenn Beck sold T-Shirts with John Roberts’s face, with the label “Coward.” In Unprecedented, I discuss Beck’s reactions to Roberts’s vote:

Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck found that there was “no good news.” It was “Chief Justice Roberts who sold us out.” Beck praised “Justice Kennedy [who] came over to the conservative side.” Yet “the only reason why Obamacare stands today is because of Chief Justice John Roberts.” Beck announced on his television show that he would sell T-shirts emblazoned with a photograph of Chief Justice Roberts above the word Coward. Beck looked forward to November and said that there was another “mandate”: to vote Barack Obama out of office.