Our Constitution contemplates three co-equal branches of government with competing interests being forced to co-exist in order to accomplish anything. Considering the distrust our Founding Fathers had in government generally, it is not surprising that this arrangement did not, does not, and never will be terribly efficient. But then, Jefferson was know to believe that eventually government becomes the enemy of individual freedom, so this attitude was certainly no surprise...and the truth of the underlying concept should be ignored at our peril.
Not surprisingly, there have been attempts by Congress ... and the President ... to make the Supreme Court join in a partnership against the third branch of government. The President does this through the power to appoint new Justices as vacancies occur and assiduously attempt to divine the ideological bent of each and every person considered...with a remarkably low percentage of success when all are taken into consideration.
But until now each Justice once ensconced on the bench has evidenced a sharp mind and a distinct ideological vision of whether the Constitution was clear when written, remains clear today, is meant to cover all facets of life in America, contains commands or merely suggestions. If in their legally restrictive view, they can see the Constitution agreeing with their view of what they would like it to say and mean, they will do...and have done...so.
Every Justice respects the others, even in the heat of intense disagreement. They understand the confines of their considerations and as some would say, "they play by the rules."
However, now enter Chief Justice Roberts. Either he disdains the "rules" or just doesn't understand that narcissism doesn't become any member of the Court. Justice Kennedy is a swing vote. But his decisions are always on very close call analysis of the law and what he sees as "justice" in accordance with the Court's purview. He does not see himself as an Editor or Proof-reading aide to Congress or the President, with the obligation to save themselves from the consequences of foolish behavior or malfeasance..."mistakes" in laws have consequences, and those who make the mistakes are not to be saved from the consequences,..of either law or the electorate.
But Justice Roberts seems to believe that he is an adjunct of Congress...with the additional prescience to know what Congress means, even if they clearly write something into a law that is totally at odds with his vision. For SCOTUScare, he knew that Congress meant tax, even though they wrote "fee."
And earlier this week he just knew that Congress did not (could not) mean that just because that they had written into the ACA a provision that subsidies would only be available to those who applied for coverage through STATE operated centers, that Congress didn't mean it. How Godlike; how dictatorial: forget the words...the law says what I decide it says.
An inept Congress and President certainly appreciates this kind of assistance...this time. But suppose Justice Roberts at some point decides that any clear wording an some law that comes up for review cannot be what Congress really wanted? I wonder if the President and Congress will be so appreciative then?
Chief Justice Roberts needs to be taken out back by his colleagues for a "come to Jesus" moment before he destroys the Institution of the Supreme Court of the United States as a primarily legal institution and leads it to a subservient tool, albeit with a run-away, out of control Chief, of either Congress or the Presidency.