Observers and analysts reviewing the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act have been surprised by Chief Justice John Roberts, who became the swing vote and wrote the prevailing decision. 

Roberts is described as deliberate, disciplined, and efficient–a sports fan and probably  the only Chief Justice ever to cut conferences short so he could get to parent-teacher meetings

University of Missouri-Columbia law professor Josh Hawley clerked for Roberts in 2007-2008.   

He says dealing with politically-fraught cases is not uncommon for members of the court.  Hawley says Roberts and the other Justices insulate themselves from those pressures. He says he never knew Roberts to pay attention to press coverage of cases before the court.  He says one way Roberts is able to ignore political pressures that accompany some cases is to ignore it.

Hawley calls the Affordable Care Act case the most politically intense case before the court since Bush versus Gore. 

He says we’re not likely to learn why Roberts took the side he took until his papers become public long after Roberts has died.  Hawley doubts Roberts will ever write memoirs that go into such things.

AUDIO: Hawley interview 18:19