ObamaCare's individual mandate is perfectly constitutional, arguments to the contrary are nonsensical "tea party stuff," and Chief Justice John Roberts shouldn't be counted as a solid vote against the health care purchase mandate when the case comes before the Supreme Court.

That's the perspective of former Reagan solicitor general Charles Fried.

In a February 14 story, Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes cited Fried as a scholar with no dog in the ObamaCare fight:

On the front of Sunday's Washington Post, Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes unfurled the first liberal spin line of the battle over a new Supreme Court justice: that there's no way whoever Obama nominates will be more liberal than retiring John Paul Stevens. Barnes said "almost certainly" the court will be more conservative after Obama's second nominee is confirmed.

Can anyone imagine the media buying that spin for a second after, say, Chief Justice Rehnquist passed away? Oh, Bush can't possibly make the court more conservative. "Almost certainly," the court will be more liberal now. 

Barnes completely accepted Justice Stevens laying down a marker for his half of the court, and made it the newspaper's own front-page spin:

The Washington Post and The New York Times published similar Supreme Court "analysis" pieces on their front pages Wednesday offering the theme that the court under Chief Justice John Roberts is moving boldly to the right, and the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor will have no effect on this bold shift. It sounded like two newspapers trying to cool down the controversy over judicial liberalism as the Sotomayor hearings approach.

In an otherwise unbiased article on Justice Anthony Kennedy, Washington Post staffer Robert Barnes seemed to dismiss the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in last June's District of Columbia v. Heller case as one in which the Court "found" gun rights in the text of the amendment, as though the notion that the Second Amendment protected an individual's right to keep and bear arms was somehow novel revisionism ungrounded in the plain text of the document.:

Kennedy was the only justice in each majority as the divided court ruled out the death penalty for child-rapists, found in the Second Amendment the individual right to a firearm and provided constitutional protections to the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

Barnes's language calls to mind how critics of Roe v. Wade and similar cases slam the Court for "finding" a right to an abortion in the Constitution where no such guarantee exists in plain English. Of course the Second Amendment itself is quite plain its its language:

The District of Columbia is going to the Supreme Court to protect its 1976 law that effectively disarmed its crime-plagued law-abiding civilian populace. In addition to an editorial cheering on the appeal, Washington's largest broadsheet is all to happy to skew its front-page coverage accordingly.