For the second time in three years, Chief Justice John Roberts has saved President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, his eponymous healthcare law that seems to enjoy more legitimacy at the Supreme Court than among the American people. What is going on here? Is the George W. Bush appointee a secret liberal, or at least a jurist who “grew in office” like so many before him?

Actually no, quite the opposite. He’s the epitome of a small-c conservative, meaning that temperamentally and philosophically he works to preserve the status quo and not rock the boat. His mission isn’t to foment a constitutional revolution or expound some jurisprudential theory, but to “call balls and strikes.”
You can see this in his too-smooth background, checking all the right boxes and excelling at the legal craft, but never identifying as an originalist or movement conservative. (For example, he attended the conservative Federalist Society meetings but has said he was never a member.)