06/28/2012 02:27 pm ET

CNBC's Rick Santelli: 'I'm Still Very Happy' About Supreme Court's Health Care Decision Process

In a surprise move, Tea Party godfather Rick Santelli said conservatives should respect the Supreme Court's decision on health care.

"You know what, the Supreme Court did what it thought best. I believe in that process, whether I agree with it or not," said Rick Santelli, CNBC's on-air editor, on CNBC on Thursday after the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. "I challenge the conservatives in Congress to take this decision with respect. With respect!"

In supporting the Supreme Court, Santelli is breaking from other conservatives. Commentators on CNBC and Fox Business Network said on Thursday that the health care ruling would ruin the economic recovery. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also said on Thursday that if elected president, he would repeal health care reform.

"Was this my preference? I will be honest with the world. My preference was I didn’t think it would pass.... I was wrong," Santelli said on Thursday. "I'm still very happy at this point. Because I am a big believer in process, pragmatic process, as laid out in the Constitution."

Santelli sparked the Tea Party movement with a rant on CNBC in 2009. In the rant, he complained about the possibility that the government might "subsidize the losers' mortgages."