(NEW YORK) — Vicki Kennedy, wife of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, said this morning on “This Week” that her late husband would have been “pleased,” but “not surprised” that Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Supreme Court’s liberal members to rule the individual mandate – the cornerstone of President Obama’s health reform law – to be constitutional.
“I think he felt very strongly in health care reform. He had studied this issue for more than 40 years. He believed in it,” Mrs. Kennedy said. ”He believed in its constitutionality. He had looked at it in every way and I think he would have been pleased but not surprised.”
Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009, called national health care reform the “cause” of his life. It was a goal the former Bay State senator pursued for decades, but he did not live to see President Obama’s signature legislation passed into law in March of 2010. However, Mrs. Kennedy was with President Obama when he signed the health reform legislation, which among other things, prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to those Americans with pre-existing conditions.
On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate in President Obama’s health care legislation was constitutional – with Chief Justice John Roberts surprising many by joining the court’s four liberal members to write the majority opinion.
After the ruling was made public, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called Mrs. Kennedy to say “Now, Teddy can rest.” Kennedy said the call was “lovely” and said Pelosi was a “real, real heroine” in the fight for health care reform.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Heather Long, CNN