Who is John Roberts? What to know about the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
- President George W. Bush named Roberts Chief Justice in 2005.
- John Roberts is a member of the conservative wing of the court. But he has been known to break with his conservative colleagues.
- Before Roberts became Chief Justice, he served on the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, to which he was confirmed in 2003.
A series of surprising decisions in recent years had at one point established Chief Justice John Roberts as the court’s swing vote. Roberts drew criticism from Republicans for being the deciding vote in 2012 to support Obamacare and side with the court liberal wing to defend President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action Policy for Childhood Arrivals for “Dreamers”.
But since President Donald Trump appointed Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the High Court in 2020, the Tories have enjoyed a 6-3 advantage. Among the conservative justices, Roberts is no longer needed to secure the five votes required for a majority.
Roberts often sought to insulate the High Court from politics and often took a step-by-step approach in high-profile cases on hot-button issues – crafting narrow rulings that could win over judges of all ideologies. Perhaps because of this, he has been criticized on the left for his conservative approach to the law and on the right for being an unreliable ally.
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Here’s what to know about Roberts.
Who is John Roberts?
John Roberts is the 17th Chief Justice of the United States .
How old is John Roberts?
John Roberts was born on January 27, 1955 in Buffalo, New York. He turns 67 in May 2022.
Who nominated John Roberts?
President George W. Bush nominated Roberts in 2005.
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How long has John Roberts been Chief Justice?
Roberts has served as Chief Justice since September 2005. Prior to Roberts becoming Chief Justice, he served on the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, widely considered the second most important court in the nation. Bush nominated Roberts to the appeals court in 2001 and the Senate confirmed him in 2003.
Roberts spent the 1980s working in President Ronald Reagan’s administration, serving in the office of White House counsel before joining the Justice Department and becoming the senior deputy solicitor general. After his stint at the DOJ, Roberts worked in private practice until Bush recruited him for the appeals court.
Who did John Roberts replace?
Roberts succeeded William Rehnquist, who died in 2005. Rehnquist had served as Chief Justice from 1986 until his death.
For whom was John Roberts committed?
Roberts served as clerk to William Rehnquist during the Supreme Court’s 1980–81 tenure when Rehnquist was associate judge.
Is John Roberts a liberal or a conservative?
Roberts is a member of the conservative wing of the court. But he earned a reputation for a little joker on the court, sometimes breaking with his conservative colleagues.
What is John Roberts’ political affiliation?
Roberts was nominated by a Republican president and is considered a conservative, but it is unclear if he is a registered Republican voter. An investigation by forensic watchdog group Fix The Court found no party registration data for Roberts.
What does John Roberts do as Chief Justice?
The Chief Justice has additional responsibilities. Roberts directs some of the questioning during oral arguments, presides over the judges’ closed meetings, and decides who will write the court’s majority opinion in a particular case if he votes with that majority. This is because the Chief Justice is still the most senior member of the court, even if he has not served the longest.
Under the Constitution, the Chief Justice also presides over impeachment trials in the Senate, when the House impeaches the President. Roberts presided over Trump’s first impeachment trial, in 2020, but not on the second because Trump had already left office.
As Chief Justice, Roberts oversees the entire federal court system. He chairs the United States Judicial Conference, a body composed of the Chief Judge of each circuit court, a district judge from each regional judicial circuit, and the Chief Judge of the Court of International Trade. The conference is responsible for reviewing the internal and administrative affairs of the federal courts. The Chief Justice holds exclusive appointing authority over the conference’s many committees.
Each year, Roberts publishes a report on the federal judiciary.
How did John Roberts rule?
John Roberts tended to rule with court conservatives. But he mixes it more than some others judges. According to the Harvard Law Review, Roberts sided with liberal associate justice Stephen Breyer 66% of the time during the 2020 term, compared to 65% of the time with conservative associate justice. Clarence Thomas.
Notably, Roberts partially disagreed with a landmark December 2020 ruling that allowed Texas’ controversial abortion ban after six weeks.
What is one of Roberts’ most important opinions?
In 2012, Roberts wrote the 5-4 majority opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius who concluded that Obamacare’s penalty for not getting health insurance was a tax and within the power of Congress.
Where did John Roberts go to school?
John Roberts graduated from Harvard University in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in history, which he earned in just three years. He earned a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1979.
Does John Roberts have a family?
Roberts married Jane Sullivan Roberts in 1996. They have two children.
Is John Roberts Catholic?
Yes, John Roberts is one of six Catholic judges on the court.
Did John Roberts wish graduate students bad luck during a commencement speech?
Yes, John Roberts gave a commencement speech at his son’s ninth-grade graduation ceremony in 2017. Instead of wishing them well, he said he wished them bad luck “from time to time. time so that you are aware of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not fully deserved and neither is the failure of others fully deserved.”
“Whether I want these things or not, they’re going to happen,” Roberts said. “And whether you benefit or not will depend on your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.”
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His decision to drop the generic “good luck” wishes from the commencement speech made national headlines at the time.
Contributor: John Fritze