June 28, 2012 saw a remarkable decision handed down from the US Supreme Court. In a 5-4 ruling, the court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, boggling the minds of conservatives and liberals alike, who had expected that at the least the Act would be gutted of its individual mandate provision.
Even more bizarre was that the swing vote in this case, narrowly granting legitimacy to the law, was not Anthony Kennedy, a moderate Reagan appointee who frequently sides with the four-member liberal bloc, but the Chief Justice himself, George W. Bush appointee John Roberts, a dyed-in-the-wool arch conservative. Roberts also wrote the majority opinion, which negated the legal basis for the legislation on the much-vaunted commerce clause grounds the administration had been pushing, but granted it as allowable under Congress’ power to tax, falling back on the law’s provision to penalize individuals who can afford to buy health insurance but refuse to do so.
Announced at 10:07 AM EDT in Washington DC, the chart for the decision is perhaps most remarkable for the solar T-Square which dominates it. The Sun at 7 Cancer is closely opposed Pluto, ruling insurance, at 8 Capricorn retrograde, which is fresh off the first of its 7 exact squares to Uranus at 8 Aries, which occurred just four days before the ruling. At 8 Capricorn, transit Pluto is exactly conjunct the USA’s natal Eris, named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord, and surely nothing in recent political history has caused so much discord and contention as this healthcare reform legislation.
Uranus is exactly conjunct transit Pallas, evoking the unexpected and unorthodox (Uranus) strategy (Pallas) pursued by Roberts, who is himself well represented by the asteroid bearing his name (#3428). The Chief Justice’s pivotal role in the ruling can be seen in asteroid Roberts’ position at 19 Leo, at the apex of a Thor’s Hammer, a mirror configuration involving two planets in square to each other (in this case, Uranus and Pluto), both sesquiquadrate (135 degrees) a third (in this case asteroid Roberts).
Roberts’ motivation for the ruling smacks of political intrigue, something supported by the chart placements. In addition to the unorthodox strategizing suggested by the exact Uranus/Pallas conjunction, the chart’s Mercury, ruling decisions and the deliberative process, lies at 1 Leo in the Twelfth House, of secret matters and hidden enemies. Planets in the Twelfth are veiled and not always what they appear to be, so there maybe more to this decision than meets the eye.
It is well known that Roberts has been concerned about the credibility of the Supreme Court, as increasing numbers of cases come down to the conservative/liberal 5/4 split decisions that suggest its hyper-partisanship. And that Roberts is opposed to the legislation itself is clearly signaled by his statement within the decision that it is not the Court’s job “to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices,” only to determine whether the law in question passes Constitutional muster. It may be that Roberts is banking on a Romney victory in November, and subsequent repeal of the legislation he obviously disapproves of, but has decided that a politically-motivated ruling now to overthrow it is not in the best interests of the Court.
If so, he has given Romney several talking points and a possible boost to his campaign. In denouncing the commerce clause rationale for the legislation, he soothes conservative mindsets, and in ruling it a tax, he grants legitimacy to the oft-repeated canard of the “tax and spend” liberal, applying it to Obama.
Additionally, the ruling is more likely to energize the Republican base, which is frothing at the mouth to repeal the law and remove Obama, whereas the Democratic base is self-satisfied and mollified by the decision, as well as lulled into complacency over the issue of conservative judicial activism. Such intricate, several-moves-ahead thinking is very typical of the Uranus/Pallas combination present in the chart, and moreover, Neptune at 3 Pisces angular on the 29 Aquarius Descendant suggests an enhanced degree of deception or misdirection. The exact square from Neptune, ruling deceptive practices, to Jupiter at 3 Gemini, ruling both politics and the judiciary, lends support for this interpretation of Roberts’ motives.
So does Roberts’ natal chart. Born 27 January 1955, the Chief Justice’s ultimate career destination may be prefigured by having both asteroid Justitia (named for the Roman goddess of Justice) at 26 Capricorn and Themis (named for the Greek goddess of Justice) at 12 Aquarius conjoined the 6 Aquarius Sun. But that Sun is also squared by Neptune at 28 Libra, implying a propensity for both deceit and zealotry.
That he may be drawn to rulings of political convenience is demonstrated by an exact conjunction at 11 Cancer of TNO Rhadamanthus (a mythic judge) with centaur Asbolus, a mythic seer who read auguries in the flight of birds, implying a willingness to test the waters and hold one’s finger to the wind to determine the political Zeitgeist, then act accordingly. A conservative perspective is indicated by Saturn at 20 Scorpio squared Mercury at 25 Aquarius, with Saturn exactly opposed asteroid Roberts at 20 Taurus, suggesting a career involving deliberation or decision-making and a position of high authority.
The ruling’s Mercury is also joined by asteroid Justitia at 3 Leo, emphasizing the Supreme Court’s role in the day’s news (Mercury). Also here are Sisyphus at 1 Leo, suggesting the repetitive nature of the healthcare reform process generally, which seemed to involve endlessly going back over the same ground, as each new conservative talking point was encountered and contradicted. Asteroid Achilles completes the roster of Mercury’s traveling companions; at 5 Leo it signals a weak spot for the administration, which this ruling emphasizes rather than diminishes.
Other indicators of judicial action include TNO Rhadamanthus, named for a mythic Greek judge of the dead noted for his scrupulous honesty, which at 19 Libra, exactly sextile Roberts, could suggest that he is acting as an honest broker in this ruling, despite evidence to the contrary. Asteroid Themis falls at 24 Taurus, exactly conjunct the MC, the most elevated point in the chart, clearly showing the prominence of the Supreme Court at this, the very moment of the most critical political ruling of the year.
Of further note is the presence of asteroid House at 0 Virgo, closely conjoined the 29 Leo Ascendant. And indeed, it is to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives that the action in his drama next turns—a vote on full repeal of the Affordable Care Act is scheduled for July 11.