Last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate may have caught conservatives off guard, but it was Chief Justice John Roberts' decision to side with the court's more liberal members that left some of the country's leading conservatives spellbound. Some are now rethinking what cases to take to the high court.
"We now have to be careful which issues we take before the Supreme Court," Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson told The Christian Post. "For example, if Justice Roberts were to rule against Proposition 8, (the California amendment banning same-sex marriage) then marriage would no longer be just between a man and a woman – even in the states that have such amendments in place. The game has certainly changed."
Dobson's view, along with the view of other conservatives of Roberts' decision, may well impact the types of issues brought to the court now that they are unsure where he might fall.
Roberts, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2005, was hailed as a "reliable" vote by social conservatives and vilified by liberals as a rubber-stamp for right-wing activists.
One of the best examples of conservatives showing their ire was former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer's tweet just hours after the announcement last Thursday. "I miss Justice Harriet Miers."
Miers was President Bush's first choice to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, but withdrew her name after liberals said she was unqualified to sit on the nation's highest court.
But others spoke as if Roberts' ruling may have given the GOP a better chance at reacquiring the Oval Office in November. Erick Erickson of the poplar Red State blog noted his disappointment over Roberts' ruling but also found a rainbow among the clouds.
"It seems very, very clear to me in reviewing John Roberts' decision that he is playing a much longer game than us and can afford to with a life tenure. And he probably just handed Mitt Romney the White House," wrote Erickson in a post.
Others such as Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America are trying to find a silver lining in Roberts' decision.
"Sure, we're disappointed in Justice Roberts' ruling but we've said all along that Obamacare is a tax," Nance told CP. "But I believe the [Supreme Court] decision ensures the GOP will take the Senate, although the White House is still up in the air."
Nance, who is heading up the "She Votes 2012" effort on behalf of CWA to encourage conservative women to vote, thinks that the court's decision on the Affordable Care Act will help mobilize conservative women to engage at record levels this year.
"They (conservative women) get it," said Nance. "They understand that Obamacare can have a detrimental impact on their family's budget and how they can access health care going forward and they are concerned. That alone can have a huge impact on their desire to change the direction of our nation."