Out of relief and gratitude for his having saved Obamacare, he is being compared to John Marshall and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Liberal commentators are burbling that his act of statesmanship has shown us the way to the sunny uplands of a new consensus.
If only Republicans will follow Roberts' bold and brave example, and agree to new revenues, the dark days of partisan acrimony and tea party intransigence could be behind us.
Yet imagine if Justice Stephen Breyer had crossed over from the liberal bench to join Antonin Scalia, Sam Alito, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy in striking down Obamacare. Those hailing John Roberts for his independence would be giving Breyer a public caning for desertion of principle.
Why did Roberts do it? Why did this respected conservative uphold what still seems to be a dictatorial seizure of power – to order every citizen to buy health insurance or be punished and fined?Congress can do this, wrote Roberts, because even if President Obama and his solicitor general insist the fine is not a tax, we can call it a tax:
"If a statute has two possible meanings, one of which violates the Constitution, courts should adopt the meaning that does not do so. ... If the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, it may be within Congress's constitutional power to tax."