Judge John Robert's Background

The Committee for Justice released the following background information on President Bush’s pick for the Supreme Court, D.C. Circuit Court Judge John Roberts:

Judge Roberts is Exceptionally Well Qualified.

Judge John Roberts has the keen intellect, impartiality and temperament, sound legal judgment and highest integrity necessary in a Supreme Court justice.

He rules based on the application of existing laws and specific facts of the cases before him, rather than making new laws or creating new policies based on personal opinion.

It’s not surprising that The National Journal has said that “John Roberts seems a good bet to be the kind of judge we should all want to have — all of us, that is, who are looking less for congenial ideologues than for professionals committed to the impartial application of the law.”

Judge Roberts has Extensive Experience.

Prior to his service on the D.C Circuit (often referred to as “the second highest court in the land” and the bench from which three current Supreme Court Justices came to the Court), Judge Roberts argued a remarkable 39 cases before the Supreme Court. Only a handful of the 180,000 members of the Supreme Court bar come close to that record of accomplishment. 

Judge Roberts was graduated Summa Cum Laude from Harvard University in only three years. After graduating from Harvard Law School with high honors and serving as an editor of the Harvard Law Review, Judge Roberts clerked for Judge Henry Friendly on the Second Circuit and later for Justice William Rehnquist at the Supreme Court.

After his clerkships, Judge Roberts served in the Department of Justice and later as Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan before going into private practice. 

After three years in private practice, Judge Roberts returned to the Department of Justice as Principal Deputy Solicitor General, a position in which he briefed and argued a variety of cases before the Supreme Court. 

Judge Roberts Widely Respected for his Fairness.

Upon his nomination to the D.C. Circuit, 152 members of the D.C. Bar wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee to note that Judge Roberts is “one of the very best and most highly respected appellate lawyers in the nation, with a deserved reputation as a brilliant writer and oral advocate.”  Signers, ranging from Democratic lawyers like Lloyd Cutler and Seth Waxman to former President George H.W. Bush’s White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray, cited his   “unquestioned integrity and fair-mindedness.” 

Anne L. Bryant and Julie Underwood of The National School Boards Association have noted that Judge Roberts “is always willing to take the time to do things right; and he is willing to support others who exhibit similar values.  Above all, he personifies the qualities of an outstanding jurist with his even-temper and respectful demeanor.”

In the 1995 case of Barry v. Little, Judge Roberts argued—free of charge—before the D.C. Court of Appeals on behalf of a class of the neediest welfare recipients, challenging a termination of benefits under the District’s Public Assistance Act of 1982. 

Judge Roberts Should be Confirmed Before the Fall Term.

Judge Roberts personifies the qualities President Bush said he would seek in a Supreme Court Justice.  The American people have every right to expect the Senate to provide a fair hearing, a floor debate in which all views are heard, and a timely vote so that the Supreme Court can convene for its Fall term on October 3rd with all justices in place.

Judge Roberts was reported favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 16-3, and confirmed by the Senate for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by unanimous consent.

President Clinton’s two nominations took an average of 58 days from nomination to confirmation. Over the past 30 years, the confirmation process has averaged 72 days from nomination to confirmation.

The White House has demonstrated an unprecedented level of consultation with Senators from both parties, consulting with more than 70 Senators, including every member of the Judiciary Committee and more than two-out-of three Democrats.

Personal Background.

Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., was born in Buffalo, New York, on January 27, 1955. Raised in Indiana.

He is one of four children (the only boy, and second oldest).

Judge Roberts lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife Jane Sullivan Roberts and their two children.