Jeremy from Indiana
I have to agree with you on your assessment of Justice Roberts. When I first discovered that he was the lawyer arguing for Alaska in the Smith decision, I had some concerns as well. It helps to understand the mentality of attorneys though. Attorneys are paid to represent their clients regardless of their personal or political beliefs. As a District Attorney, Roberts’ client was the state of Alaska. His job was to represent the state and he did that effectively in 2003. As a lawyer, he was bound by the letter of the law and his client’s wishes. As a judge, especially a Supreme Court judge, he has a lot more freedom in how he interprets law. For starters, he is no longer bound to a client. He is still bound somewhat by the letter of the law, but his position allows him to change that with a majority opinion. During the challenge to the individual mandate of Obamacare, Roberts was quoted as saying (paraphrased) that it is not the responsibility of the court to question the wisdom of a law, that’s up to the legislature. This quote gives me a bit of hope in future cases challenging the registry.