I’ve recently been wondering if many years from now people will view the decision on the constitutionality of TUCA (The Unaffordable Care Act) by Chief Justice John Roberts as heroic. Let me explain.

Imagine for a moment that Justice Roberts believed that this “law” was, indeed, constitutional.  Why wouldn’t he have ruled as such without stipulations?  Why did he insist that the “law” was a tax, when the government’s own lawyers made the case that it was not a tax?  Why did he deny one of the most powerful provisions of the law, that which would coerce states into embracing Medicaid expansion? 

Is it possible that Roberts saw the “law” as unconstitutional but was leveraged or pressured in some way?  Is it possible that his ruling was his way of saving himself (or his family) from some blowback, while simultaneously giving people a way out, if they really wanted out from under this “law?” 

I began to give this last possibility serious consideration as I read Sibel Edmond’s book, “Classified Woman.” In one section of the book she recounts a conversation with Gilbert Graham, former FBI Special Agent in charge of their counterintelligence unit on Turkey (and famous whistleblower).  Mrs. Edmonds tells Mr. Graham that she plans to make an appeal to court, and here is his response:

“Do you know what I did in the early nineties for the bureau?  I ran background checks on federal judges.  If we came up with shit-skeletons in their closets-the Justice Department kept it in their pantry to be used against them in the future or to get them to do what they want in certain cases-cases like yours, like mine.”

So I ask again, is it possible that someone leaned on Roberts or someone close to him?  Is it possible that his ruling was the best he thought he could do under the circumstances? Is it possible that if Roberts was compromised, part of his vulnerability was due to illegal data-gathering by the NSA?

I thought this was worth bringing up because I know so many who are opposed to TUCA but in favor of NSA spying powers.  There is no way to know how the Clinton’s used the notorious FBI files against their political enemies.  I believe it is naive to think they went to all of the trouble to steal these files and never used them or never intended to.  Subsequent administrations have had access to personal information the scope of which makes the Clinton FBI files look paltry by comparison.  Once again, I think it is naive to think that the powers that be wouldn’t use this information if they felt the “need.”  

If indeed, Roberts was compromised in his position rendering an opinion, an opinion no one saw coming from him, I would think this might lead the supporters of unlimited government spy power to reconsider the extent to which they place their trust in the state. 

The speculation that Roberts might have been compromised is just that:  speculation.  This speculation is not new, however.  Several popular talk radio hosts have openly discussed the possibility that NSA spying might have already been used to compromise judges and legislators and even to thwart the plans of certain individuals considering a run for political office.  If Robert’s strange ruling, one which may have provided a “back door” fix, was the best he could do for us, he should have a clear conscience if no advantage is taken of the opportunities he has afforded us to discard this strange and destructive “law.”

G. Keith Smith, M.D.