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How John Roberts upheld health-care law while limiting congressional power (+video)

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was with the majority on both sides of the ruling on the health-care reform law, upholding the law while finding that Congress had overstepped its authority.

Until he became the deciding vote that upheld the Affordable Care Act, Chief Justice John Roberts was a reliably conservative vote. Wyatt Andrews reports on Justice Roberts' legislative record, and his new place in judicial history.
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In upholding President Obama’s health-care reform law, the US Supreme Court once again split the difference, attempting to offer a bit of something for everyone.

For supporters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the entire law survived (by a slim 5-to-4 vote) what has been a bruising election-year debate over the statute’s legality and propriety.

It is a resounding victory for Mr. Obama, affirming the constitutionality of the signature legislative achievement of his tenure in the White House.

But Thursday’s ruling also included an important victory for Republicans and other critics of the health-care reform law, who complained that Congress, in ordering every American to buy a government-approved level of health insurance or pay a penalty, had overstepped its authority under the Commerce Clause.

The high court sided 5 to 4 with that position.

At the center of this Solomon-like judicial maneuver was Chief Justice John Roberts, whose fancy footwork provided the decisive fifth vote on both sides of the dispute.


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