The curtain has been lifted.
CBS “Face the Nation” transcript via Volokh.com:
O’DONNELL: We’ll start first Jan because you’ve done some reporting. the big question was why did Chief Justice John Roberts do what he did? You’ve learned new details.
CRAWFORD: That’s right, what was striking about this was that it was the conservative chief decisive vote, joining the liberal signature achievement and that was something no one would have expected in 2005 when President George W. Bush put him on the Supreme Court and that was something that not even the conservative justices expected back in march when the court heard arguments in this case. I am told by two sources with specific knowledge of the court’s deliberations that Roberts initially sided with the conservatives in this case and was prepared to strike down the heart of this law, the so-called individual mandate, of course, that requires all Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty. but Roberts, I’m told by my sources, changed his views deciding to instead join with the liberals. He withstood–I’m told by my sources–a month-long desperate campaign by the conservative justices to bring him back to the fold and that campaign was led, ironically, by Justice Anthony Kennedy and why that’s ironic is because it was Justice Kennedy that conservatives feared would be the one most effort, of course, was unsuccessful, Roberts didn’t budge, the conservatives wrote that astonishing joint dissent united in opposition and Roberts wrote the majority opinion with the four liberals to uphold the President’s signature achievement.
For days, bloggers and columnists speculated that Chief Justice Roberts had switched sides on the constitutionality of Obamacare’s individual mandate (see, e.g., here, here, and here). Crawford’s report is the first to confirm the speculation.
Early Twitter reaction was not favorable: