This chart says it all.
There is a history of justices on the right who defect to the left over time. It seems that Chief Roberts is pulling a Rhenquist, who was his mentor.
- Justice Harry Blackmun was nominated by Richard Nixon in 1970 and confirmed unanimously by the Senate. In 1973, he authored the court’s opinion in Roe v. Wade, which protected the right to abortion.
- Justice John Paul Stevens was nominated by Gerald Ford in 1975. A 2007 Times magazine profile of Stevens called him “The Dissenter” and mentioned the word “liberal” 44 times.
- Justice David Souter was nominated by George H.W. Bush in 1990; Bush’s chief of staff said that he would “be a home run for conservatives.” He later voted to reaffirm Roe and dissented in the court’s decision in Bush v. Gore, which handed the presidency to the younger Bush.
- And Justice Anthony Kennedy was nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1987. (Kennedy is not a solid liberal but is known as the court’s swing vote.) In 2015, he wrote the opinion that legalized gay marriage nationwide.