Scalia says no fallout with Roberts over healthcare decision

WASHINGTON Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:22pm EDT

Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler (R) speaks to Justice Antonin Scalia (L) and Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, in this courtroom illustration made March 28, 2012. REUTERS/Illustration by Art Lien/Handout

Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler (R) speaks to Justice Antonin Scalia (L) and Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, in this courtroom illustration made March 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Illustration by Art Lien/Handout

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said there was no bad blood between himself and Chief Justice John Roberts, who stunned conservatives by voting to uphold President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

In a rare interview that aired on Wednesday night, Scalia also told CNN he had "no regrets" over the court's 5-4 decision that swung the 2000 presidential election to Republican George W. Bush.

Scalia's response to critics of the ruling, which he says is the one most frequently raised with him, is "get over it."

"Especially because it's clear that the thing would have ended up the same way anyway. The press did extensive research into what would have happened if what Al Gore wanted done had been done, county by county, and he would have lost anyway," he said.

Scalia said he slept well at night and had a crystal-clear understanding of his role on the bench.

"I'm not king and I haven't been charged with making the Constitution come out right all the time," he said.

In the landmark June 28 healthcare ruling that was an election-year victory for President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats, Roberts surprisingly joined the court's four liberal members to uphold the law's key provision requiring that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a tax.

The decision was a setback for Republicans who mounted opposition in Congress to the law before its 2010 passage. They dubbed it "Obamacare" and called it an unwarranted intrusion into the lives of individuals and a burden on states.

Media reports suggested tempers flared between Scalia and Roberts - both conservative jurists - over the matter after the decision, but Scalia said that was not true.

"You shouldn't believe what you read about the court in the newspapers. No I haven't had a falling out with Justice Roberts," Scalia said.

(Reporting By John Crawley; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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