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Chief Justice Roberts has a tough dilemma. Schumer calls for Labor Secretary Acosta to resign. Swalwell: Today ends our presidential campaign. Lemon: Nothing means more to Trump than winning. Questions swirl over Trump official's role in housing deal. Trump brags about environment, ignores climate crisis. Trump retweeted a fake Reagan quote about himself. Nearly 20 senior Pentagon roles lack permanent appointees. Trump says he's done with UK Ambassador who slammed him.

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His clothes looked crisp, though his face was haggard. He was as exhausted and distressed as he had been in years. Roberts had left behind a storm in Washington over his opinion upholding President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul -- the Affordable Care Act -- a stunning validation of Obama's signature domestic achievement that transformed public perceptions of the chief justice.

Republicans in Congress had been fighting the law dubbed Obamacare at every turn for two years, and all the GOP presidential candidates in had vowed to repeal it. And now Roberts, a nominee of President George W. Bush, had saved it. Going forward, the chief justice would be viewed with skepticism by conservatives, despite also having taken the lead on limiting racial remedies and voting rights, helping roll back campaign finance regulations and voting for stronger Second Amendment gun rights.

Roberts' moves behind the scenes were as extraordinary as his ruling. He changed course multiple times. He was part of the majority of justices who initially voted in a private conference to strike down the individual insurance mandate -- the heart of the law -- but he also voted to uphold an expansion of Medicaid for people near the poverty line. The final tallies, to uphold the individual mandate and to curtail the Medicaid plan , came after weeks of negotiations and trade-offs among the justices.

The ACA, signed by Obama in , followed decades of failed attempts in Washington to control spiraling medical costs and provide Americans with higher-quality health care. It created a marketplace where the uninsured could buy coverage and protected people from being unable to get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, cancer and other chronic illnesses. To support the system and draw in the healthy as well as the sick, the law required that most uninsured people obtain coverage the "individual mandate" or pay a penalty, to be collected as part of an individual's annual taxes -- a provision critical to the final ruling.

The law also expanded Medicaid benefits to a wider range of needy individuals. But it would come with a strict condition: If states did not broaden their programs as dictated they would lose all Medicaid funds.

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After an unusual three full days of oral arguments in late March a typical case gets one hour on one day , the nine justices gathered in a private conference room off the chief's chambers to cast initial votes. They were alone, with no law clerks or administrative staff. The discussion focused on the individual insurance mandate and Congress' power to regulate commerce.

Roberts went first, as was the custom, laying out his views. He emphasized that he believed the Constitution's commerce clause never was intended to cover inactivity, such as the refusal to buy insurance. Like Roberts, they thought Congress' commerce authority did not cover an individual's decision to forgo -- rather than obtain -- health insurance. There were thus four immediate votes cast to invalidate the mandate.

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No one at the table was surprised, based on the questions during oral arguments and word from law clerks inside the building circulating intelligence among the justices' chambers. Hide Caption. Roberts is seen in a yearbook photo from his prep school in La Porte, Indiana. He was born in Buffalo but grew up in northwest Indiana. In , he graduated from Harvard Law School.

He was an associate counsel to Reagan from As an attorney for the government and in 14 years of private practice, Roberts argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court and won 25 of them. In May , President George W. Roberts is seen at right along with Bush's other judicial appointments. Roberts, third from left, meets with US senators in Washington a day after he was nominated by Bush. With Roberts, from left, are Sens. Roberts meets with US Sen. Mary Landrieu as he makes his rounds on Capitol Hill in July Bush announced that he wanted Roberts to replace Rehnquist instead.

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Roberts was once a law clerk for Rehnquist. Roberts answers questions during his second day of confirmation hearings in September The Senate voted to confirm him. Roberts and his wife attend his swearing-in ceremony in the East Room of the White House. The Roberts walk with their children, Jake and Josie, after he took the Supreme Court bench for the first time in October Bush enjoys a light moment with Roberts and other Supreme Court justices on Roberts' first day.

Roberts shakes hands with President Barack Obama at Obama's inauguration ceremony in Roberts administers the oath of office to President Donald Trump in Roberts and Thomas pay their respects to the late President George H. Bush as he lies in state in December The votes of the liberals were known, too. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, fifth in seniority, was the first to cast a vote to uphold the individual mandate.

Trump, who has attacked the very idea of judicial independence. In response, Chief Justice Roberts has become increasingly more assertive. Political science data refute that assertion, as do the fights over judicial confirmations. Chief Justice Roberts is too smart and too steeped in history to believe that politics plays no role in judicial decision making. We do not serve one party or one interest. We serve one nation. Alito Jr. Gorsuch — sent a different message not long after, all attending the annual gala dinner of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group.

Liberal justices have occasionally addressed the annual convention of the American Constitution Society, a liberal group, but court watchers could not recall a show of force like the one by their conservative colleagues in Enthusiasm among conservatives for the chief justice has tempered since President George W. Bush nominated him in On issues of racial discrimination, religion, voting and campaign finance, his views are squarely in the mainstream of conservative legal thinking.


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He voted with five-justice majorities in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Second Amendment decision that established an individual right to own guns; Citizens United , the campaign finance decision that amplified the role of money in politics; and Shelby County v. Holder , the voting rights decision that effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act. And he seethed when Mr. Obama attacked the Citizens United ruling at his State of the Union address, with several justices in attendance. But by casting the decisive vote to save Mr. Liberals hailed him as a statesman.

Conservatives denounced him as a traitor. Trump, years before he ran for president, was in the second group.

During his presidential campaign, Mr. It is not as if the Roberts court has not handed the president some victories.

Chief Justice John Roberts Bowed To Political Pressure And Changed His Vote On Obamacare

In June, Mr. He is only 63, but he has already led the Supreme Court for more than a dozen years. His last three predecessors had tenures of between 16 and 19 years, but Chief Justice Roberts is likely to stay in office much longer and to leave a correspondingly larger mark.