The chief justice accused the solicitor general’s office of being less than candid, by suggesting (as he read the government’s brief) that the secretary of labor in the Bush administration had changed her mind “upon further reflection” when that was not the reason at all. Instead, he corrected, it was “a new secretary now under a new administration” who had done so.You can listen to the interchange here, beginning at 29:00. Roberts sharply criticizes the government's lawyer, Joseph R. Palmore, for something that — it seems rather obvious — deserves criticism. I don't hear Roberts becoming inappropriately emotional, which is what "losing his cool" means.
The chief justice scolded, “Don’t say the secretary is now of the view. It’s not the same person. You cite the prior secretary by name, and then you say, the secretary is now of the view. I found that a little disingenuous.”
Now, if you want to say Roberts is a hypocrite because his writing is equally disingenuous or worse, that's another matter. It's what Andrew Cohen at The Atlantic is doing in an item titled "The Nerve of John Roberts":
A little disingenuous. This from a judge who disappeared the scope of the Commerce Clause in the Affordable Care Act case.Disappeared the scope? That's Cohen's way of referring to the identification of some limit on the scope of the commerce power, so that it didn't reach a private citizen's failure to purchase insurance. Congress has power under the Commerce Clause to regulate nearly everything else, which to Cohen's eye is no power at all. Unless it's everything, it's nothing. Disappeared!
This from a judge who gutted decades of First Amendment precedent in the Citizens United case after reaching out, unilaterally, to expand the scope of that campaign finance case.....Yes, yes, roll out your list of Supreme Court decisions you wish went the other way. That's not in the same category as deceptively stating the facts of a case, which is simply not acceptable in lawyers' briefs. The Solicitor General's office disserved us. The Chief Justice called the lawyer on a deception and — with restraint — said he "found it a little disingenuous."
What I find disingenuous is the criticism of the Chief Justice. And after all he did for you upholding Obamacare! (He used the tax power instead of the commerce power).
But no thanks will be forthcoming. Pressure must be kept up. This is a big term for the Supreme Court — gay marriage (probably), affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act — and Roberts's vote may be required to reach what the media know are the right results. Roberts needs to know that any love for him is purely contingent. He's being watched.