July 3, 2012
Last weeks switch in time by Chief Justice John Roberts that saved the socialist takeover of healthcare in America made me reminisce about former Chief Justice William Rehnquist (1924-2005). The point was driven home even further by an article in The Atlantic featuring a lengthy 2007 interview with Chief Justice Roberts that should have raised a lot of red flags. (One should have been raised marking Roberts really poor historical acumen.) For example, it contains this jarring observation: Roberts suggested that the temperament of a chief justice can be as important as judicial philosophy in determining his success or failure. Seriously?
William Rehnquist was known for being a great administrator of the Court and an excellent colleague, but I dont think he would ever have misunderstood that a justices primary duty lies in being consistently faithful to the original meaning of the Constitution in some sense. Apparently, Justice Roberts believes he swore an oath to the Supreme Court not the Constitution. It is unimaginable that William Rehnquist would have behaved as Roberts did in the Obamacare case.
It seems to me that in the past fifty years only Ronald Reagan was a more significant conservative than William Rehnquist. One good thing, perhaps the only good thing, to come out of NFIB v. Sebelius (the Obamacare decision) is that conservatives will begin to better appreciate how much that great Chief Justice accomplished and how courageous he was for decades.