When Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined with the court’s liberal justices to uphold President Obama’s health-care law, it was historic in more ways than one: It was only the second time in his seven years on the court that he provided the winning vote for the left to prevail over the conservative justices.

That statistic alone should be enough to cool hopeful chatter from some liberal political commentators that perhaps Roberts is showing signs of becoming the next David H. Souter. Souter, nominated to the court in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, eventually became a fairly reliable liberal vote.

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