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Roberts, Jr., John Glover


In July 2005, President George W. Bush nominated District of Columbia Circuit judge John G. Roberts, Jr., to the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court vacated by the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Roberts was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1955. He attended undergraduate school at Harvard College and graduated in 1976. He attended Harvard Law School, where he was managing editor of the Harvard Law Review, and received his law degree in 1979. Roberts was thus poised to begin an impressive legal career.

Roberts's first job out of law school was clerking for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The following year, he was hired as a law clerk for then-Associate Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist. In 1981 he became special assistant to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith, and in 1982 he joined the White House staff as associate counsel to then-President Ronald Reagan. Four years later Roberts signed on with the prestigious Washington, D.C., firm of Hogan and Hartson.

John Glover Roberts, Jr.

1979      Graduated Harvard Law School

1981      Served as clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist

1989–93      Served as principal deputy solicitor general of U.S.

2003      Took seat on U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit

2005      Nominated by President Bush for U.S. Supreme Court

Hogan & Hartson LLP is the oldest and largest law firm in Washington, D.C. During his tenure there, Roberts focused on civil litigation, especially appellate, and eventually became head of the firm's appellate practice division. In 1989 he left private practice to serve as principal deputy solicitor general of the United States, a position he held until 1993. Roberts returned to Hogan & Hartson in 1993, and remained there for the ensuing ten years.

As the years passed, Roberts's professional reputation grew. His time at Hogan & Hartson and as deputy solicitor general had enabled him to argue more than 30 cases, reflecting the full range of the Court's jurisdiction, before the U. S. Supreme Court by 2001. Many critics found his conservative politics suspect, but his advocates believed him to be above such political influences. Lawrence Robbins, a former attorney in the solicitor general's office and a partner at Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, & Untereiner (Washington, D.C.), told Jonathan Groner of the Miami Daily Business Review, "John Roberts is possibly the foremost appellate lawyer of his generation." Despite some opposition from the left, Roberts was confirmed to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in May of 2003. Not long after his appointment, there was speculation that he was being considered for an eventual place on the Supreme Court.

That speculation became reality in July 2005, when President Bush announced Roberts as his replacement for the retiring Justice O'Connor. Given Roberts' fairly easy road to confirmation when he was nominated for the D.C. Circuit judgeship, his confirmation for the Supreme Court was expected to be less fraught than previous nominees' battles. As of early August 2005, hearings had not yet been scheduled, but Bush wanted Roberts confirmed before the Supreme Court began its 2005-06 sessions in September.

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