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Chief Justice Roberts fends off speculation about his health-care ruling

Some analysts say Chief Justice John Roberts switched sides in upholding the Affordable Care Act. He jokes that he's headed to an 'impregnable island fortress' to avoid such questions.


Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts speaking at a program held by the Judicial Conference of the District of Columbia Circuit in Farmington, Pa. on Friday.

Ann Wilkins/US Courts Circuit Executive's Office/AP

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Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts jokes that he’s headed for an "impregnable island fortress" to avoid questions about the startling health-care decision he wrote.

Poring over the 2,700-page ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal speculate that the Chief Justice actually changed his mind in mid-deliberation, flipping from the reliably-conservative foursome to join with the predictably-liberal quartet to become the swing vote in one of the court’s most important decisions in a generation.

Meanwhile, far-right commentators Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck go ballistic – Limbaugh being challenged by gleeful progressives to stand by his earlier pledge to leave the country if what he derides as “Obamacare” is upheld, Beck weepily declaring that Roberts has “sold us out” as he hawks $30 T-shirts with the Chief Justice’s visage and the single word “Coward.”

QUIZ: How much do you know about health-care reform?

Roberts is a relatively young man who well could see even more divisive and historically-important decisions come before his court. But until then, the ACA ruling stands as the central ruling under his jurisdiction.


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