WASHINGTON -- Is John Roberts a regular Benedict Arnold?
That's the feeling among some die-hard conservatives who are angry with the Supreme Court chief justice for joining liberal justices in a Thursday decision that upheld the Affordable Care Act in response to what was likely the last serious effort to cripple the law through the courts. Egged on by a blistering dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote that the law might as well be called "SCOTUScare" now, conservative commentators expressed their outrage with the chief justice for saving the Affordable Care Act a second time.
"Roberts = Souter," tweeted Matt Mackowiak, a Republican operative from Texas. Justice David Souter was appointed by former President George H. W. Bush, but conservatives later soured on his appointment after he moved toward the middle and voted to reaffirm Roe v. Wade.
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter echoed the sentiment and turned it into a critique of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is the third member of the Bush family to run for president.
Today's Obamacare decision reminds us: Bushes nominated Souter, Roberts & Miers to the S. Ct. BUSH '16!
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 25, 2015
Jonathan Adler, a conservative legal commentator and law professor, said Obamacare "now really is the law that John Roberts wrote." Andrew Grossman, a legal adjunct at the Cato Institute, took it a step further and called it "RobertsCare."
Fox Host Andrea Tantaros said the "judiciary, John Roberts included, is now just the water boy for the welfare state."
Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro went for a different -- and stranger -- metaphor. He invoked a particular setting from the erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Grey.
"The Roberts Court took the ACA to its Red Room of Pain and then alternatively tortured it and made love to it until it complied," he tweeted. He added, "No need to wonder whether Chief Justice Roberts was a disastrous pick. He was. And yes, I told you so at the time."
The Milwaukee County GOP in Wisconsin asked, "Is Justice Roberts under #NSA surveillance?"
But perhaps the most bizarre source of outrage came from a contributor on the conservative website The Blaze.
Wayne Root, a former libertarian vice presidential nominee, suggested in a post titled "Was Supreme Court Justice John Roberts Blackmailed?" that Roberts voted to uphold Obamacare because the Obama administration threatened to reveal unidentified skeletons hiding in his closet.
"I think the Obama Crime Family meets with a key politician like Boehner or Justice Roberts and they offer both a carrot and stick," Root wrote. "They threaten to expose something terrible like an affair, or corruption, or malfeasance, or immorality that would shock the nation, ruin their career, destroy their legacy, cost their marriage, destroy their relationship with their children and leave them unemployable by any respectable law firm or lobbyist."
"Trust me -- those options are being offered every day by the Obama Crime Family to key political figures in Washington, D.C. Republicans are being blackmailed, intimidated, extorted and bribed," he added. "That explains Justice Roberts and the Supremes ruling against the American People again. That explains why conservatives keep winning elections, yet we keep gaining nothing and losing everything. It’s all been fixed."