John G. Roberts Biography

Chief Justice of the United States

John G. Roberts
Chief Justice of the US John G. Roberts, Jr. Getty Images

Biography of Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States.

Birth, Early Life and Education:

John Glover Roberts, Jr. was born Jan. 27, 1955, in Buffalo, New York. In 1973, Roberts graduated at the top of his high school class from La Lumiere School, a Catholic boarding school in LaPorte, Indiana. Among other extracurricular activities, Roberts wrestled, was captain of the football team and served on the student council.

After graduating from high school, Roberts was accepted into Harvard University, earning his tuition by working in a steel mill during the summer. After receiving his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in 1976, Roberts entered Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude from law school in 1979.

Legal Experience:

From 1980 to 1981, Roberts served as a law clerk to then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court. From 1981 to 1982, he served in the Reagan administration as a Special Assistant to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith. From 1982 to 1986, Roberts served as Associate Counsel to the President Ronald Reagan.

After a brief stint in private practice, Roberts serve in the George H. W. Bush administration as Deputy Solicitor General from 1989 to 1992. He returned to private practice in 1992.


On July 19, 2005, Roberts was nominated by President George W.

Bush to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court created by the retirement of Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Following the September 3, 2005 death of William H. Rehnquist, Bush withdrew Roberts' nomination as O'Connor's successor, and on September 6, sent the United States Senate notice of Roberts' new nomination to the position of Chief Justice.

Senate Confirmations:

Roberts was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 78-22 on Sept. 29, 2005, and was sworn in hours later by Associate Justice John Paul Stevens. Roberts serves as the 17th Chief Justice of the United States and the youngest to hold the post since John Marshall became Chief Justice over two hundred years ago. Roberts received more Senate votes supporting his nomination (78) than any other nominee for Chief Justice in American history.

Personal Life

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