The role of the court's swing vote did not go unnoticed by conservatives.
The National Review, a prominent conservative publication, quickly posted an editorial titled, "Chief Justice Robert's Folly."
The chief justice came into office in 2005 as the brightest star of a younger generation of conservative legal experts, a man whose resume suggested he had been virtually groomed for the high court. Adept politically, he disarmed his critics when he told his confirmation hearing that a judge's role was "to call balls and strikes and not to pitch and bat."
One who was not persuaded at the time was then-Sen. Barack Obama, campaigning for the support of liberals and other Democratic primary voters as he pursued the party's presidential nomination. He pronounced Roberts qualified for the high court, then added that throughout the nominee's career to date "he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak."
This time, Roberts' ruling drew no dissent from Obama.
EDITOR'S NOTE — David Espo covers politics and Congress.
An AP News Analysis
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