robertsChief Justice John Glover Roberts, Jr., was born on January 27, 1955, in Buffalo, New York.  He was raised in Long Beach, Indiana, and attended a Catholic boarding school in LaPorte, Indiana, where he graduated first in his class.

Roberts received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard in 1976, summa cum laude, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1979, summa cum laude, where he served as managing editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Following his graduation, Roberts clerked for Judge Henry Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist.  He then joined the Reagan administration, serving as a special assistant to the Attorney General until 1982; from 1982 until 1986, he served as Associate Counsel to the President.  In 1986, he entered private practice at the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) … becoming the firm’s head of appellate practice, and went on to argue thirty-nine cases before the Supreme Court.  In 2001, he was nominated for an opening on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; he was confirmed in 2003.  In 2005, then-President George W. Bush nominated Roberts to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  While his nomination was pending, Chief Justice Rehnquist passed away, and Bush instead nominated Roberts to replace Rehnquist.  He was confirmed in September 2005, by a vote of seventy-eight to twenty-two.

Court watchers view Roberts as a judicial minimalist and politically conservative, approaching cases cautiously with an eye towards preserving precedent.  He is often credited with stabilizing the Court in an era of perceived judicial activism.

During Roberts’ confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2005, he quipped, “My job is to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.” He explained, “Judges

[need] to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent, shaped by other judges.”

Roberts’ role as Chief Justice allows him to choose who writes the majority opinion when he sides with the majority, which has immense influence over how broad or narrow the ruling and its impact are. In particularly important cases, he selects his own hand to draft the opinion.  Roberts has drafted many impactful  majority decisions, such as upholding Congress’ ability to ban certain kinds of abortions (Gonzalez v. Carhart), forcing colleges that accept federal funding to allow military recruiters on campus even when the university objects to their discriminatory policies (Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights), and overturning a school’s decision to use race as a basis for determining placement of students in schools even when the school was attempting to maintain integration (Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1).

Even with this power, Roberts has seen the conservative population lose faith in his ability to promote conservative ideals while on the bench…. A Gallup survey showed the approval rating of the Roberts court at 18% of Republicans, an all-time low. Two landmark decisions, one whose majority opinion Roberts penned, favored left-leaning policies. The first decision, King v. Burwell, discussed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Roberts validated the authority of the ACA by upholding the tax credits provided in the ACA. The second was Obergefell v. Hodges, which stated same-sex marriage was a constitutional right. Roberts is an avid supporter of the belief that the role of the court is an umpire, meaning that the role is to interpret the rules, not create them. This belief is the focus of his dissent in Obergefell. Roberts has remained steadfast in deferring to the existing power structure and interpreting, not creating, law — even in the face of angering his usual political party.

Roberts is married to the former Jane Marie Sullivan, also an attorney. They have two adopted children, Josie and Jack.  The Roberts are Roman Catholic and live in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C