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John Roberts

John Roberts
Chief Justice

Judicial Offices:
John Roberts was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2003. President George W. Bush nominated him as Chief Justice of the United States, and he took his seat on September 29, 2005.

Roberts was born in Buffalo, New York, on January 27, 1955, the son of John G. Roberts and Rosemary Podrasky. He grew up in a Roman Catholic, upper middle-class home along with three sisters: Kathy, Peggy and Barbara. Roberts married Jane Marie Sullivan in 1996, and they have two children - Josephine and John.

Roberts graduated first in his high school class of 1973 from La Lumiere School, a Catholic boarding school in LaPorte, Indiana. He received a bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1976 and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1979.

Law Clerkship:
Roberts served as a law clerk for Henry J. Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1979 to 1980. Subsequently, he served as a law clerk for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1980 Term.

Law Practice:
During the Reagan administration, Roberts served as a Special Assistant to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith from 1981 to 1982. From 1982 to 1986 he served as Associate Counsel to President Reagan under White House Counsel Fred Fielding. From 1989 to 1993 he was Principal Deputy Solicitor General for the U.S. Department of Justice. Roberts was nominated by George H.W. Bush in 1992 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but his nomination expired when President Bush left office after losing the 1992 presidential election. Thereafter, Roberts was a partner at the Washington, D.C.-based firm of Hogan & Hartson where he had previously been an associate in 1990. He headed the firm's appellate practice and argued a number of cases before the Supreme Court. George W. Bush renominated Roberts to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on January 7, 2003 after an earlier failed nomination, and Roberts received his commission on June 2, 2003.


  • Developments in the Law Zoning, "The Takings Clause," 91 Harv. L. Rev. 1462 (1978).
  • Comment, "Contract Clause Legislative Alteration of Private Pension Agreements: Allied Structural Steel Co. v. Spannaus," 92 Harv. L. Rev. 86 (1978).
  • New Rules and Old Pose Stumbling Blocks in High Court Cases, The Legal Times, February 26, 1990 (co-written with E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr.)
  • Article III Limits on Statutory Standing, 42 Duke L. J. 1219 (1992-1993).
  • Riding the Coattails of the Solicitor General, The Legal Times, March 29, 1993.
  • The New Solicitor General and the Power of the Amicus, The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 1993.
  • The 1992-1993 Supreme Court, Public Interest Law Review 107 (1994).
  • Forfeitures: Does Innocence Matter?, New Jersey Law Journal, October 9, 1995.
  • Thoughts on Presenting an Effective Oral Argument, School Law in Review (1997).
  • Oral Advocacy and the Re-emergence of a Supreme Court Bar, 30 J. Supr. Ct. Hist. 68 (2005).

Other Activities:
Chief Justice Roberts is currently a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, the American Law Institute, the Edward Coke Appellate American Inn of Court and the National Legal Center for the Public Interest. He serves on the Federal Appellate Rules Advisory Committee.

More Biographical Information:

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