This is not to say that all liberals were effusive in their praise of Roberts.
“Yes, Roberts voted to uphold the individual mandate, joining the court’s liberal wing to give President Obama a 5-4 victory on his signature piece of legislation,” Tom Scocca wrote at Slate in a post entitled, “Obama Wins the Battle, Roberts Wins the War.”
“But the health care law was, ultimately, a pretext. This was a test case for the long-standing — but previously fringe –campaign to rewrite Congress’ regulatory powers under the Commerce Clause … Roberts was smarter than that. By ruling that the individual mandate was permissible as a tax, he joined the Democratic appointees to uphold the law — while joining the Republican wing to gut the Commerce Clause (and push back against the necessary-and-proper clause as well).”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein echoed Scocca, calling Roberts a “political genius.”
“His break with the conservatives, and his only point of agreement with the liberals, was in finding that the mandate was a ‘tax’ — a finding that, while extremely important for the future of the Affordable Care Act, is not a hugely consequential legal question,” Klein wrote.
“It’s as if an umpire tweaked the rules to favor his team in the future, but obscured the changes by calling a particular contest for the other side.”