John Roberts

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John Roberts

John Glover Roberts, Jr. (born January 27, 1955 in Buffalo , New York ) is an American lawyer . He has served as Chief Justice of the United States since September 29, 2005, Head of Federal Courts and Chairman of the United States Supreme Court .


John Roberts is the second oldest child of John G. Roberts, Sr. and his wife Rosemary (née Podrasky) and has three sisters. His father was a director of Bethlehem Steel Corporation , where he had worked since 1951. When he visited the second grade, the family moved to Long Beach in the US state of Indiana , a suburb of Chicago on Lake Michigan .

In 1973 he graduated from La Lumiere School in LaPorte , a Catholic boarding school for boys . There he learned Latin and French for six years . Roberts was co-captain of the American football teams and described himself as "slow linebacker " ( slow-footed linebacker ). He was also a wrestler , co-editor of the school newspaper, member of the sports council and board member of the school council. In addition, he sang in the choir and played in the theater.

After graduating from high school , Roberts studied two years at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield , Connecticut , and then moved to Harvard University . There he received his Bachelor of Arts in history with summa cum laude . He then attended Harvard Law School , where he graduated magna cum laude in 1979 .

John Roberts has been married to lawyer Jane Marie Sullivan since 1996 and has two adopted children, Jack and Josie.

In 2005, Roberts reported under public official disclosure and reporting requirements that he had an annual income of $ 1,044,399, along with extensive investments in pharmaceutical and engineering stocks, an 1/8 stake in a country house in Ireland and his wife's inheritance in real estate less than $ 15,000.

In 2006 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .


Senior Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens takes the oath of office from John Roberts in the White House. US President George W. Bush looks on. (2005)

Upon graduation, Roberts became Henry Friendly's clerk at the Federal Second Court of Appeals and stayed there for a year. From 1980 to 1981 he was a clerk in the Supreme Court under William H. Rehnquist and from 1981 to 1982 he was assistant to Attorney General William French Smith ( Reagan administration ).

He then became assistant to the President's legal advisor under Fred F. Fielding and remained so until 1986. He then became an attorney at law at the law firm Hogan & Hartson in Washington. He left them in 1989 to return to the Ministry of Justice as Deputy Attorney General for legal representation. As such, he was before the Supreme Court in 39 cases and was able to win 25 of them. During the monopoly lawsuit against Microsoft , he represented 19 US states .

In 1992 he was nominated by President George Bush for the District of Columbia Court of Appeal , but there was no vote on it in the Senate because the President lost the election. Roberts returned to Hogan & Hartson and became chief of appeal.

In 2001 he was nominated by President George W. Bush as a judge for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals; but the Senate Legal Committee rejected it. In 2003 he was nominated again to succeed James L. Buckley . His appointment was confirmed by the Senate Legal Committee and Plenary. He took up his post on June 2, 2003. From 2003 to 2005 he was a judge on the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

On July 19, 2005 he was nominated by Bush to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor at the Supreme Court. According to Time Magazine, Roberts is considered a "mainstream conservative" and so the debate revolved around Roberts' political stance and the resulting future decisions of the Supreme Court and the possible effects on public life in the USA.

On September 5, 2005, the president changed the nomination. Roberts was to replace the late William H. Rehnquist as Chief Justice . The Senate confirmed his nomination on September 29, 2005, and he was sworn in at the White House. Roberts took the oath of office from President Barack Obama , who had voted against him as Senator in 2005, on January 20, 2009, but read the short text incorrectly.

According to the United States Constitution , John Roberts led the impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump in the Senate from January 16, 2020 to February 5, 2020 .

Jurisprudence and positions

Although Roberts is considered a classic conservative, in 2012 he was the only conservative judge to vote for the constitutionality of Barack Obama's controversial health care reform . His vote together with the four votes of the left ("liberal") judges made the difference in the narrow 5: 4 decision of the Supreme Court. In 2015 he also voted for the health reform, the decision was less tight with 6: 3 votes.

In November 2018, Roberts rejected a blanket judicial scolding from US President Trump, with which he had responded to a legal defeat in a federal court. That the presiding judge of the Supreme Court expresses himself at all, as well as the clarity with which Roberts did this, are considered unusual for his office.


Web links

Commons : John Roberts  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files


  1. to the family of John Roberts (
  2. a b Chief Justice and Obama seal deal, with a stumble . Associated Press
  3. Chief justice leads Obama to stumble presidential oath . ( Memento of May 13, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) AFP , January 21, 2009
  4. Friedemann Diederichs: The man who saved Obama. In: Münchner Merkur , June 30, 2012, p. 4.
  5. ^ Marc Pitzke: Judges save Obama's prestige project. In: Spiegel Online from June 28, 2012.
  6. ^ Robert Barnes: Affordable Care Act survives Supreme Court challenge In: The Washington Post, June 25, 2015.
  7. ^ Supreme Justice John Roberts - "We have no Obama judges or Trump judges" , ZDF today, November 22, 2018.
  8. According to Justice Scourge - US Supreme Justice criticizes Trump , Tagesschau, November 22, 2018.