By Alicia M. Cohn - 07/05/12 12:44 PM EDT
Mitt Romney is criticizing Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for his healthcare decision.
In an interview on CBS on Thursday, Romney said Roberts's decision "gives the impression" it was based on politics, not the Constitution.
He also said it was "not an appropriate conclusion" to find that the individual mandate passed constitutional muster because it is a tax.
Roberts's decision shocked the GOP, which had expected him to be an ally in its push to eliminate the legislation known as "ObamaCare." Instead, Roberts sided with the court's four liberal justices and upheld the law.
He did reject the government's argument that the Commerce Clause made the health insurance mandate constitutional, a ruling that could have huge future implications for government actions.
Romney previously had said he would seek to nominate justices like Roberts to the Supreme Court.
But in the wake of the healthcare ruling, Romney said he wouldn't nominate someone "who I knew would come out with a decision that I violently disagreed with or vehemently disagreed with."
Of Roberts, Romney said, "He's a very bright person and I look for people who follow the Constitution."
According to leaks since the Supreme Court upheld the healthcare reform act as constitutional, Roberts initially sided with the conservative dissent in the decision but ultimately changed his mind and became the deciding factor in the court's ruling.
Roberts acknowledged the fallout last week when he told a judicial conference he is headed to Malta for two weeks now that the Supreme Court is adjourned.
"Malta, as you know, is an impregnable island fortress. It seemed like a good idea," Roberts joked, according to The Associated Press.