Friday, June 29, 2012
Chief Justice Roberts: Unimaginable hero (or villain) in sport-like Obamacare drama
My single favorite things about sports (or "sport," as Mitt Romney likes to say) is that we just don't know what will happen. We may think we know what will happen, but even the most skilled prognosticators are wrong time and time again.
For me, covering sports meant chronicling different dramas everyday, with new heroes and villains, surprising stars and incredible 3D action.
If only life could be more like sports, how interesting life would be.
Sometimes, thankfully, life doesn't disappoint. Such was the case Thursday, when the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare came down.
Although a majority of pundits seemed to think the law would be shot down, there were plenty who felt it would be upheld. But did any of the folks on either side of the aisle -- even one? -- believe the drama would unfold the way it did?
As it turns out, it wasn't Anthony Kennedy -- Mr. Swing Vote -- who would decide the law's fate, as pretty much everybody had predicted. No, the unlikely hero (for libs) or villain (for cons) was Chief Justice John Roberts, a reliably conservative jurist vetted by Karl Rove and appointed by Dubya Bush, who saved Barack Obama's signature act as president.
Why did Roberts do it? Why did he go out of his way -- seemingly digging and digging until he found something of a loophole -- to uphold the dreaded individual mandate that Republicans hated (even though many GOPers liked it before it was pushed by Obama, who hated it before he liked it)?
We might not know until Roberts writes his memoirs. Heck, we may never know.
In the end, it was something straight out of a John Grisham novel ... except in this one, readers would have shaken their heads in disbelief and said: "Yeah, right. As if that could happen."
But happen it did: a thrilling, impossible conclusion to a hotly contested Game 7, a wild finish that left half the audience elated and the other half crushed.
Pretty cool, just like sport itself.