Chief Justice Roberts addressed the D.C. Circuit’s bench and bar in his first public remarks since he dropped the Health Care Cases bombshell on Thursday, reports Joe Mandak for the Associated Press. Roberts, a former D.C. Circuit Judge, was the guest of honor at the D.C. Circuit Judicial Conference the day after he announced the decision upholding most of the Affordable Care Act.
Although he dodged a question about how “one recent opinion might fit into” the Court’s legacy, the Chief Justice did allude to his largely unexpected decision to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act. When Chief Judge Sentelle asked whether Roberts was “going to Disney World” after the Court’s adjournment, the Chief Justice said he planned to teach a two-week class in Malta, adding, “Malta, as you know, is an impregnable island fortress. It seemed like a good idea.”
The Chief Justice didn’t say who he was fleeing, but an exposé published yesterday by Jan Crawford Greenberg suggests the Chief Justice might be looking over his shoulder for Justice Kennedy: “Justice Anthony Kennedy . . . 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.’ “
National Federation of Indep. Business v. Sebelius (The Health Care Cases), No. 11-393 (S. Ct. June 28, 2012) (Roberts, C.J.)