A Boise law professor wasn't surprised that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the majority of the Affordable Care Act in its landmark ruling on Thursday, but he was surprised at the vote—5 to 4—and who voted with the majority.
"I was pretty sure Justice [Anthony] Kennedy was going to vote in favor," said Chad DeVeaux, Concordia University School of Law associate professor. "And I was predicting 6-3. I'm not shocked that Chief Justice [John] Roberts voted 'yes,' but I'm a bit surprised that he broke the tie."
DeVeaux told Citydesk that when Chief Justice Roberts came before the U.S. Senate during his confirmation hearing in 2005, he pledged not to make political waves.
"Roberts told the Senate, 'My job is not to act as a judicial umpire,'" remembered DeVeaux. "He went out of his way to say he was not beholden to a political party. I think anyone who may have thought Roberts would be part of a conservative voting bloc along with Justices [Antonin] Saclia, [Clarence] Thomas, [Samuel ]Alito are mistaken."
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is seen by some as a swing vote and sided with the conservative judges in opposing the Affordable Care Act, is more unpredictable, said DeVeaux.
"Kennedy likes to keep people in suspense," said DeVeaux. "He has a long history of doing this, and he's going to continue to surprise people."
DeVeaux expects even more suspense in the coming sessions, when he expects the high court to consider affirmative action and same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile DeVeaux, who came to Concordia after teaching at Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, Calif., is busy preparing to teach the inaugural class of Boise's first law school. 75 students are scheduled to take classes at Concordia, beginning Aug. 2. DeVeaux will be teaching many of the students criminal and contract law.