The conventional wisdom was shockingly, pathetically wrong.
But some folks have long an inkling that Chief Justice was no ideologue.
When Roberts was nominated to be Chief Justice in 2005, a very prominent liberal lawyer told me that he was reassured. Roberts, he noted, was a practicing attorney with years of trials under his belt unlike the academic Antonin Scalia and or Clarence Thomas's with his slew of government jobs and no real private practice experience to speak of. The real world experience of Roberts, this liberal lion thought, would make the Chief--and the court-- less rigid ideologically.