"The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause. That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage it."
This statement makes this ruling a victory for those against Obamacare. This was the most critical point. For this to be ruled a TAX is a huge blow to Obama who stated that it was "ABSOLUTLEY NOT A TAX".
EDIT: Here's the video: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2009/09/obama-mandate-is-not-a-tax/#.T-xtyHsqo_Y.twitter
Here's an article about an interview with Obama and George Stephanopoulos (http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/06/28/read-obamas-2009-abc-news-interview-health-care-law-is-not-a-tax/) Obama said,
OBAMA: ...for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is ***absolutely not a tax increase.*** What it’s saying is, is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I’m not covering all the costs....
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.Brilliant move on Robert's part.
The following portion of the decision is the crux of the issue and Roberts really did a fantastic job explaining it:
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS concluded in Part III–A that the individual mandate is not a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. Pp. 16–30. (a) The Constitution grants Congress the power to “regulate Commerce.” Art. I, §8, cl. 3 (emphasis added). The power to regulate commerce presupposes the existence of commercial activity to be regulated.This Court’s precedent reflects this understanding: As expansive as this Court’s cases construing the scope of the commerceCite as: 567 U. S. ____ (2012) 3 Syllabus power have been, they uniformly describe the power as reaching “activity.” E.g., United States v. Lopez, 514 U. S. 549, 560. The individual mandate, however, does not regulate existing commercial activity. It instead compels individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product, on the ground that their failure to do so affects interstate commerce. Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority. Congress already possesses expansive power to regulate what people do. Upholding the Affordable Care Act under the Commerce Clause would give Congress the same license to regulate what people do not do. The Framers knew the difference between doing something and doing nothing. They gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it. Ignoring that distinction would undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers. The individual mandate thus cannot be sustained under Congress’s power to “regulate Commerce."
I say Roberts was brilliant because I believe he voted on the side he doesn't necessarily agree with so that:
- He could write the majority opinion himself, and,
- He would have the more liberal justices 'on his side' in the majority which, to the American people who largely don't understand how this stuff works, it will appear as if they agree with his opinion.
Despite the seniority and added prestige, the Chief Justice's vote carries the same legal weight as each of the other eight justices. In any decision, he has no legal authority to overrule the verdicts or interpretations of the other eight judges or tamper with them. However, in any vote, the most senior justice in the majority decides who will write the Opinion of the Court. Being the most senior member, the Chief Justice—when in the majority—decides who writes the Court's opinion. This power to determine the opinion author (including the option to select oneself) allows a Chief Justice in the majority to influence the historical record. Two justices in the same majority, given the opportunity, might write very different majority opinions (as evidenced by many concurring opinions); being assigned the opinion may also cement the vote of an Associate who is viewed as only marginally in the majority (a tactic that was reportedly used to some effect by Earl Warren). A Chief Justice who knows the Associate Justices can therefore do much—by the simple act of selecting the justice who writes the Opinion of the Court—to affect the "flavor" of the opinion, which in turn can affect the interpretation of that opinion in cases before lower courts in the years to come. It is said that some chief justices, notably Earl Warren and Warren Burger, sometimes switched votes to a majority they disagreed with to be able to use this prerogative of the Chief Justice to dictate who would write the opinion.This is exactly what I think Roberts did today, "It is said that some chief justices...sometimes switched votes to a majority they disagreed with to be able to use this prerogative of the Chief Justice to dictate who would write the opinion."
Roberts ensured that the decision would cement the fact that the Commerce Clause could now never be used to allow Congress to mandate that individuals purchase something (which is what this whole law was about to begin with, not healthcare). He also ensured that the decision revealed the intent of the democrats for what it is, a new, HUGE tax on the American people. Further, he ensured that it appears that the liberal justices agree with his opinion.