A day after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts sided squarely with the Obama administration on the health care overhaul, the same jurist came out swinging against the court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
In his dissenting opinion — which he read from the bench for the first time in his nearly 10 years as chief justice — Roberts charged Friday that the court had no right to intervene in what should be a democratic debate by the people, at the state level, over same-sex marriage.
“This court is not a legislature,” he wrote. “Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
As for the state’s role, he said: “The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage.”
The dissent underscored how unpredictable — and to his critics, confounding — the chief justice, appointed by a Republican president, can be.