Damon Root on Chief Justice Roberts' Constitutional Avoidance in Bond v. United States


Credit: C-Span

Two years ago, when Chief Justice John Roberts led the Supreme Court in upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, he justified his decision in terms of judicial restraint. "If there are two possible interpretations of a statute," Roberts wrote, "and one of those interpretations violates the Constitution, the courts should adopt the interpretation that allows the statute to be upheld."

Roberts then proceeded to uphold Obamacare by adopting what he called a "saving construction" of the health care law. As Reason Senior Editor Damon Root reports, Chief Justice Roberts performed another act of constitutional avoidance this week in his ruling on the federalism case Bond v. United States.