Biography: Chief Justice John Roberts - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Biography: Chief Justice John Roberts

AP Graphic AP Graphic

BIOGRAPHY

Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., was born in Buffalo , New York , on January 27, 1955.

He grew up in Indiana, where he captained his high school football team and worked summers in a steel mill to help pay his way through college.

In 1976, he received his bachelor's degree from Harvard, summa cum laude , after only three years.

He then attended Harvard Law School , where he was managing editor of the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude in 1979.

The year after he graduated from law school, Judge Roberts clerked for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

  • Friendly is acclaimed as the preeminent appellate judge of his generation. Chief Justice Warren Burger said of Judge Friendly that he could not identify “any judicial colleague more highly qualified to have come to the Supreme Court of the United States than Henry Friendly.” (Jeffrey B. Morris, Federal Justice in the Second Circuit 178 (1987).)

In 1980-81, Judge Roberts clerked for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court.

Judge Roberts then served as Special Assistant to Attorney General William French Smith during 1981-82.

  • In that role, he advised the Attorney General, wrote speeches, and acted as the Attorney General's representative to other officials in the Executive Branch and state and local governments.

From 1982 until 1986, Judge Roberts served in the White House as Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan.

  • His duties in the White House included reviewing bills submitted to the President by the Congress, drafting and reviewing Executive Orders, and generally reviewing the full range of presidential activities for legal problems.

In 1986, Judge Roberts left the White House to enter private practice as an associate at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson. He was elected a partner a year later. His practice focused on appellate litigation and was by all accounts extremely successful.

  • In 1989, Judge Roberts argued his first case before the United States Supreme Court as court-appointed counsel in United States v. Halper , 490 U.S. 435 (1989), a double-jeopardy case. He prevailed on behalf of his client.

From 1989 until 1993, Judge Roberts served as Principal Deputy Solicitor General, the second-in-command in the Office of the Solicitor General.

  • As Principal Deputy Solicitor General, Judge Roberts briefed and argued a variety of cases before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the U.S. government.

In 1992, when he was 37, President George H.W. Bush nominated Judge Roberts to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The nomination languished without action by the Senate.

In January 1993, Judge Roberts returned to Hogan & Hartson and resumed his appellate practice.

Including his tenure as a government lawyer, Judge Roberts argued 39 cases before the United States Supreme Court, placing him among the country's most experienced Supreme Court litigators.

  • Judge Roberts's Supreme Court arguments alone span a vast set of issues within the Supreme Court's jurisdiction, including admiralty, antitrust, arbitration, environmental law, free speech/religion, health care law, Indian law, bankruptcy, tax, regulation of financial institutions, administrative law, labor law, federal jurisdiction and procedure, interstate commerce, civil rights, and criminal law.
  • In addition to representing business interests, Judge Roberts at different times represented the States of Hawaii, Alaska , and Nevada in defending diverse state social, health-and-welfare, and environmental policies before the United States Supreme Court.
  • He was retained by the various state attorneys general pursuing antitrust claims against Microsoft to defend the district court's remedial orders before the D.C. Circuit.
  • From time to time he also represented criminal defendants and indigents on a pro bono basis.

Judge Roberts, a member of the D.C. Bar, is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. As an attorney, he was widely involved in bar activities:

  • For example, he was a member of the United States Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules, the American Law Institute, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and the Legal Advisory Board of the National Legal Center for the Public Interest.
  • He worked on the bipartisan Joint Project on the Independent Counsel Statute sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution.

In May 2001, President George W. Bush nominated Judge Roberts for a seat on the D.C. Circuit.

  • Reaction to his nomination was overwhelmingly positive. His supporters included many prominent members of the D.C. bar, including Democratic lawyers such as Lloyd Cutler and Seth Waxman, who collectively praised his “unquestioned integrity and fair-mindedness.” (Letter to Senators Daschle, Hatch, Leahy, and Lott from members of the Bar of the District of Columbia , reprinted in Hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Part I , 108th Cong., 1st Sess. (Jan. 29, 2003), at 652.)
  • Judge Roberts received a unanimous “well qualified” rating from the ABA .

Judge Roberts' nomination was favorably reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 16-3. The Senate confirmed Judge Roberts' nomination by unanimous consent on May 8, 2003.

Judge Roberts lives in Bethesda , Maryland , with his wife, Jane, and their two children, Jack and Josie. Jane Sullivan Roberts is a partner at Shaw Pittman in Washington , D.C. She has a background in technology law and currently heads the firm's professional development program. She has practiced in the private sector as a litigator and transactional lawyer throughout her legal career, including a year in Australia .

White House press office

Powered by Frankly