John Roberts

Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

Education:

Received an A.B. from Harvard College in 1974 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1979.

Career:

  1. Served as a law clerk for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  2. Law clerk for the then Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist of the Supreme Court during the 1980 term
  3. Special Assistant toe the Attorney General, US Department of Justice from 1981-1982
  4. Associate Counsel to President Reagan, White House Counsel's Office from 1982-1986
  5. Principal Deputy Solicitor General US Department of Justice 1989-1993
  6. Appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2003 and nominated for Chief Justice by President Bush in 2003

Years of Public Service

  • He served as a law clerk for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1979–1980 and as a law clerk for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1980 Term.
  • He was Special Assistant to the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1981–1982, Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel’s Office from 1982–1986, and Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1989–1993. From 1986–1989 and 1993–2003, he practiced law in Washington, D.C.
  • He 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 September 29, 2005.

Religion:

  1. Roman Catholic

Judicial Philosophy

Generally considered to be a practitioner of judicial restraint, Roberts most often votes with the conservative wing of the Court. As a Chief Justice, Roberts has tried to build more unanimity, working to issue less 5-4 decisions. In the 2013 Supreme Court session, 65 percent of the rulings were 9-0.

Significant Cases

  • Hedgepeth v. Washington Metro Transit Authority upholding the arrest of a 12-year-old girl for violating the “no eating food” policy at a Washington D.C. Metro station.
  • Roberts was also part of the unanimous ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld upholding military tribunals’ trying terrorism suspects known as "enemy combatants." This decision was overturned in a 5-3 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006 (Chief Justice Roberts excused himself from this case).
  • Snyder v. Phelps-The First Amendment protects from tort liability a person who speaks about a public issue on a public sidewalk, even if that speech is "outrageous."