MSM liberals are breathlessly talking about how ideological the Roberts Court is. Politico's top article today is headlined: "John Roberts Court on Trial". It teases, "critics will accuse the Roberts Court of rigging the game and covering their power play with constitutional doublespeak." Who exactly are these 'critics'? Might one be named 'Glenn Thrush'?
There is still some question as to which way the conservatives on the court - Roberts, Scalia, and especially Kennedy - will rule on the Obamacare case. But there's no doubt about the four liberal justices. They are simply taken as a given: of course they support the government's right to expand the tortured "Commerce Clause" to allow any action the government sees fit. In oral arguments yesterday, Justice Breyer said that the main "limiting principle" on the Commerce Clause is that "95% of United States law is State law" and that the "members of Congress are elected from States." That is, the only check needed on Congress is its own sensibility.
Of course, when Congress' sensibilities are conservative, Breyer and friends find that the Constitution gives them wide latitude to strike down Congressional laws.
There is no denying that the Supremes have political leanings and prejudices. Their principles certainly appear to be malleable and their politics rigid. But it's absurd to state that a conservative justice (e.g. Scalia) whose vote cannot be guessed ahead of all arguments is more ideological than a liberal justice whose vote is in absolutely no doubt at all.
As (ultra-liberal) Rachel Maddow blogged last night, "The liberal justices were far more effective than Verrilli in making compelling arguments in defense of the law."
Call the Court ideological, sure. But with four committed conservatives and four committed social-liberals, don't single out one side as doctrinaire.