(Newsroom America) -- Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the U.S. Supreme Court's four conservative justices to strike down President Obama's signature health care law, but switched his opinion at the last minute and sided with the high court's liberal wing, according to published reports on Monday.
CBS News, quoting a pair of unnamed sources, said Roberts endured a month-long campaign led by Justice Anthony Kennedy to get him to change back to his original position, but in the end the chief justice held firm in finding a way to uphold the law, known as the Affordable Care Act.
Prior to last Thursday's ruling, it was widely believed that Kennedy would likely be the court's swing vote, but he resolutely sided with Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
"He was relentless," one source said, speaking of Kennedy's effort. "He was very engaged in this."
But Roberts held firm, leaving the other four conservatives to leave them their own message, which - according to one justice - was, essentially, "You're on your own," CBS News reported.
As such, the dissenting justices refused even to side with Roberts on issues in which they all agreed, such as the part of the ruling limiting Congress' ability to regulate the states under the Commerce Clause, sources told the news affiliate.
Rather, they joined to craft their own opinion and left it unsigned, a highly unusual occurrence, and deliberately refused to even acknowledge Roberts' ruling, as if they did not even wish to engage him in debate, the sources said.
Immediately following the oral arguments over the law in March, which was, in and of itself, historic for its length, Roberts initially sided with the conservative wing that the crux of the law - the individual mandate requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance - should be struck down as unconstitutional.
The four justices believed that since the mandate was an improper expansion of the Commerce Clause - never before had Congress mandated Americans purchase a good or service - then the remainder of the law was also improper, a point in which Roberts agreed.
"Roberts was less clear on whether that also meant the rest of the law must fall, the source said. The other four conservatives believed that the mandate could not be lopped off from the rest of the law and that, since one key part was unconstitutional, the entire law must be struck down," CBS News reported.
The ruling, which upheld the law in its entirety and handed a major political victory to Obama just months before the November elections, has angered conservatives who have long believed the act was an unconstitutional expansion of federal power.
Obama has since praised the court for its decision, while GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal it if he wins the November election. To do that he will need help; the House will have to remain in Republican hands, and the Democrats will have to lose their narrow majority in the Senate.
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