During a Republican debate in December, Mitt Romney was asked to name his favorite Supreme Court justice. The first name he came up with? John Roberts. And on his campaign website, the presumptive Republican nominee for president vows to nominate justices "in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts."
Now, in the wake of Roberts' key vote to uphold President Barack Obama's health care law, that enthusiasm for the Chief Justice has all but disappeared.
In an interview on Wednesday, CBS News' Jan Crawford asked Romney whether he still would nominate justices like Roberts if elected president.
"Well, I certainly wouldn’t nominate someone who I knew was going to come out with a decision I violently disagreed with -- or vehemently, rather, disagreed with," Romney told Crawford. "And he reached a conclusion, I think, that was not accurate and not an appropriate conclusion. But that being said, he’s a very bright person, and I’d look for individuals that have intelligence and believe in following the Constitution.”
Crawford reported Monday that Roberts switched his vote after initially agreeing with the court's conservative bloc that the Affordable Care Act should be struck down.
"It gives the impression that the decision was made not on a constitutional foundation, but instead a political consideration about the relationship between the branches of government," Romney said. "But we don't really know the answers to those things until the justice speaks out -- maybe some time in history."
In an escape from the media spotlight, Roberts arrived in Malta on Tuesday to begin teaching a two-week course at the Mediterranean island's university.