I don't think it's too far afield to presume that the Chief here didn't want to hang the Court's reputation on what was only a year ago thought to be a fringe legal theory in a decision that would appear to be so obviously political. I'm not sold on Roberts as Chief Justice, but I've got to believe he looked at what happened since Citizens United was decided and thought, Jeebus, one Dred Scott per tenure is enough, thanks.
LOOK, with the assurance that comes from not having read the decision, and being too stupid to analyze it if I did, let's just say that I don't like the fact that the Court would even agree to hear this crap; that super-elastic we've made out of the Commerce clause has not always been a friend to me (or any man), but if we're gonna start tossing aside precedent for political fucking expediency, then let's just do away with the game entirely. If Congress' power under Commerce is to be reined in just because a cadre of gold nuts and Randians don't like a result, then let's be fair and take away their corporate personhood. That sure ain't in the Constitution.
Did you feel this coming? I thought I did, but only a fool predicts Court decisions, even in this benighted 5-4 age. It's a political decision, and the political winds just shifted alee. Roberts' "tax-based" decision sounds for all the world like the sort of thing that happens whenever any Grand High Poobah decides to get tricky. It's overwrought and stupid, and transparently does what it was really designed to do, except for the fooling people part. I guess we can't ask for more, except the massive stroke that Scalia has deserved for years now.