In the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (the Obamacare case), Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal members of the Court in upholding the law, but for a different reason. So, why did he write a majority opinion, not a concurring opinion?
#127740. Asked by adams627. (Nov 12 12 7:42 AM)
While all of the associate justices believe that there will only be two main opinions - and that the conservative wing of the Court has prevailed - Roberts and his staff secretly are authoring a Grand Compromise. Viewing himself as the custodian of the High Court's honor and reputation, Roberts desired more than anything to achieve a unanimous decision on a case of such magnitude. A narrowly divided Supreme Court which overturned a sitting president's signature achievement would, from Roberts' perspective, cause near-irreparable damage to the Court's reputation in the eyes of the public. But how to bring the two sides of the Court together on such a contentious issue? The answer lies within the Roberts opinion. Read more from the site...|
Chief Justice John Roberts also believes in judicial restraint, or judicial modesty, as he described it during his 2005 Senate confirmation hearings, and that belief came shining through yesterday in his majority opinion in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius...there are different interpretations of what "judicial restraint" actually is, and it is often in the eye of the beholder, however in the classic sense of a judge who believes they should restrain themselves from second guessing the legislature, the Chief Justice's opinion yesterday is exactly what judicial restraint is all about.
I don't have any clue what euab's answers mean. And they don't seem to address the actual question. Let's try again.|
A majority opinion is simply an opinion that is joined by a majority of a court, such as the Supreme Court. Roberts' opinion was a majority opinion because five of the nine justices joined the sections of it that provided the decision of the case.
Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, which is an opinion that agrees with the decision of the court but uses different logic (in fact, only four justices at the most joined any part of Ginsburg's opinion).
And, although the logic of the four dissenters was the same as the logic of Justice Roberts in some parts (such as the reach of the Commerce Clause), they did not join those parts of the Roberts opinion, so it is not a concurring opinion with regard to those parts even though five justices would agree with its holdings. Because those parts of Roberts' opinion are not part of the "majority opinion" (since they did not join those parts), theis opinion technically just represents a dissent.
All of those are shown in this excerpt from the official slip opinion:
ROBERTS, C. J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and III-C, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined; an opinion with respect to Part IV, in which BREYER and KAGAN, JJ., joined; and an opinion with respect to Parts III-A, III-B, and III-D. GINSBURG, J., filed an opinion concurring in part, concurring in the judgment in part, and dissenting in part, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined, and in which BREYER and KAGAN, JJ., joined as to Parts I, II, III, and IV. SCALIA, KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., filed a dissenting opinion. THOMAS,
J., filed a dissenting opinion.
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