After its Obamacare ruling, Supreme Court becomes issue in US election

A supporter of the Affordable Care Act celebrates after the Supreme Court upheld the law in the 6-3 vote at the Supreme Court in Washington on June 25, 2015.Reuters

Conservatives and Republicans, who were disappointed with the US Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, said they will make the role of the court a major issue in the 2016 presidential election.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who penned the majority opinion in the Obamacare case and was an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush, was criticised by conservatives along with Justice Anthony Kennedy, another Republican appointee, according to Reuters.

"He's let down the [conservative] movement," said Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice, which aims to "hold judges and politicians accountable to the Constitution."

"He may feel he has no obligation to the movement," he said.

During his confirmation hearing in 2005, Roberts said "judges are not politicians who can promise to do certain things in exchange for votes" and promised to "confront every case with an open mind."

"John Roberts, a Bush appointee, is now dead to conservatives and Reagan appointee Anthony Kennedy's opinions in the gay marriage and disparate impact cases have rubbed a lot of salt in what was already deep wound of disappointment," said Levey.

He said because of the repeated failure of Republican presidents to appoint justices who will allow the American people to govern themselves, "it is of utmost importance that the GOP presidential candidates articulate what procedures they would follow to ensure that this failure is not repeated."

Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network said, "You can't assume someone is going to go south, but it appears the concerns were warranted. It's what happens when you nominate someone who doesn't have a clear record."

Mark Levin of the conservative Landmark Legal Foundation, said Republican senators will "need to take their responsibility far more seriously and much more aggressively scrutinise these nominees."

"What the court said is, if legislation is written poorly, we can fix it," he said. "That's very different from the traditional role of the court," said Jay Sekulow, a conservative lawyer, who said that the Obamacare decision should prompt a debate in the presidential campaign regarding justices' proper function.

Republican and Democratic presidential candidates and leaders held opposing views about the Obamacare decision.

Hillary Clinton praised the decision, posting on Twitter, "Yes! SCOTUS affirms what we know is true in our hearts & under the law: Health insurance should be affordable & available to all."

On the opposite side of the political fence, the reaction was completely different. "We will continue our efforts to repeal the law and replace it," said Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush vowed to "work with Congress to repeal and replace this flawed law."

Republican Senator Marco Rubio said, "I remain committed to repealing this bad law."

Mike Huckabee described the ruling as "an out-of-control act of judicial tyranny" while Ted Cruz said, "Unelected judges have once again become legislators, and bad ones at that."