WASHINGTON – Former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that while he was surprised by the Supreme Court's decision last month to uphold President Barack Obama's health care law as constitutional, he is not as upset with Chief Justice John Roberts as many conservatives now are.
"I've been curious as to why Roberts took this particular route," Gingrich told The Huffington Post. "But in a way, because I really do believe we want a less interventionist court, placing the political decision back on the American people I think's probably good."
Gingrich said he is releasing a small ebook next week that will explore how the decision is "probably Obama's worst nightmare."
"What Roberts has said is, 'Yes, it's constitutional because of a gigantic tax increase, and if you don't want the gigantic tax increase you've got to beat Obama,'" Gingrich said. "You don't just get to come to the Supreme Court to bail you out. And I happen to think that part of it is probably healthy for the country to be forced to confront, that it's their burden."
Gingrich acknowledged that it was "a little jarring" to see Roberts side with the court's four liberal justices, but he had a different reason than others for describing it as such.
"I was surprised by it," he said. "I think that one of the things for the rule of law to work, is you have to have predictability. And it is a little jarring to that pattern when you have Chief Justice Roberts and the four liberals suddenly on a major issue voting against the four conservatives. I think there's some degree to which you want a continuity."
Gingrich said he had not commented publicly on the decision until now.
"My focus is beating Obama, not attacking Justice Roberts," he said. "So I deliberately didn't say much when it came out because I want to stay focused on Obama."
And he was not concerned, as some are, that Roberts' ruling has opened up a broad new taxing power for the federal government.
"What he has said is that more activities like that will be called taxes in the future and they will be harder to pass. So I think he's probably raised a -- someone said he has empowered Grover Norquist to the level that nobody could have imagined," Gingrich said with a chuckle.
His new ebook, Gingrich said, is titled, "No Taxation Without Misrepresentation."