Chief Justice John Roberts traded with liberal justices over the fate of a key plank in President Barack Obama's signature health-care legislation while the matter was before the Supreme Court in 2012, according to an adaptation published on Thursday of a forthcoming Roberts biography.
The legal battle over the Affordable Care Act was one of the most consequential disputes before the nation's top court since Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, took the helm in 2005.
It has long been reported that Roberts flipped his vote on the central element of the case, eventually siding with the liberals in a 5-4 vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate.
But according to Joan Biskupic, the author of "The Chief: The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts," that's not the only flip-flop that happened at the time. According to Biskupic, two of the court's liberals, Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, flipped on Medicaid expansion, a separate legal issue concerning Obamacare.
When the Affordable Care Act was passed, it required states to expand Medicaid coverage to those near the poverty line or risk losing federal funding.
According to Biskupic, Breyer and Kagan voted during the court's first conference on the matter, in March 2012, to uphold that requirement. But once Roberts signaled that he was going to switch his vote and uphold the individual mandate, the two justices were "were willing to meet him partway."