Associate Counsel to the President


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This collection is available in whole for research use. Some folders may still have withdrawn material due to Freedom of Information Act restrictions. Most frequently withdrawn material is national security classified material, personal privacy, protection of the President, etc.



John Glover Roberts, Jr. was born in Buffalo, New York on January 27, 1955. He is the second child of four, and has three sisters. Early in his life, his family moved to northern Indiana and Roberts grew up in this area. His father moved the family to take various jobs with the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Roberts, Sr. was an electrical engineer for the Bethlehem Steel and later an executive.

Judge Roberts attended the private Catholic preparatory high school, LaLumiere School in LaPorte, Indiana. He was a National Merit Scholarship winner and graduated first in his class of 1973. He entered Harvard University as a sophomore and earned numerous scholarships and prizes while an undergraduate. In 1976, he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in history. Judge Roberts attended Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude. He worked on the Harvard Law Review and was managing editor for one volume. During law school he was a summer associate with law firms in Honolulu and Indianapolis.

Judge Roberts began his career as a law clerk for the United State Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit in New York City. He clerked for Judge Henry Friendly for one year from June 1979-July 1980. He clerked for then Justice William Rehnquist at the Supreme Court for another year, July 1980-August 1981. Immediately before working at the Reagan White House, Judge Roberts was with the Department of Justice. He served as Special Assistant to the Attorney General from August 1981-November 1982. He joined the White House Counsel's Office on November 28, 1982 replacing J. Michael Luttig on the staff as Associate Counsel to the President. He stayed in this position until his resignation on April 11, 1986.

After his White House service, Judge Roberts became an associate with the private law firm Hogan & Hartson in Washington, DC. In 1989, Roberts was appointed Deputy Solicitor General in the Department of Justice by President George H.W. Bush. He argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court and won 25 of these cases. In 1992, George H.W. Bush nominated Roberts to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit, but he was not confirmed.

Judge Roberts returned to private practice as a partner with Hogan & Hartson in 1993 to run the firm's appellate practice. Early in the George W. Bush administration, Roberts was again nominated to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, but the nomination failed to make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was re-nominated on January 7, 2003. Replacing retiring Judge James L. Buckley, the U.S. Senate confirmed Roberts by voice vote on May 8, and he received his commission on June 2, 2003.

On July 19, 2005, Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. was nominated by President George W. Bush to the Supreme Court. After the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Roberts was re-nominated by President Bush to fill the Chief Justice spot. The nomination was on September 6, 2005. In mid-September, the Senate began a week of hearings on the Roberts nomination. On September 29, 2005, the Senate voted 78-22 to approve the nomination of John G. Roberts as the 17th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was sworn-in later that day.

In 1996, Judge Roberts married the former Jane Marie Sullivan. They have two children, Josephine, and Jack.



Scope Note

As an Associate Counsel in the White House, Judge Roberts concentrated on ensuring compliance with all legislation governing the White House staff, including anti-lobbying, conflict of interest, ethics, and official travel. He also monitored litigation or actions challenging the President's prerogatives and programs – i.e. executive privilege, war powers etc. One of his primary functions was preventing misuses of the presidential seal, likeness, name, photographs, and/or signatures. He also commented and provided routine White House legal review for disaster declarations, enrolled bills, veto recommendations, proclamations, Congressional testimony by agencies and many White House remarks, letters and speeches. Roberts also had a share of appointment clearances.

Roberts reviewed and commented on many other subject issues, particularly civil rights, especially in regards to education. Judge Roberts did very little work on foreign affairs, but he does have a few folders on Cuba, the Mariel "boat people", and the International Court of Justice case on the mining of Nicaragua waters.

Judge Roberts appears to have some folders and work product continuing earlier and ongoing work of other White House Counsel attorneys. In particular, his folders contain references to Michael Luttig, H.P. Goldfield, and Richard Hauser. As far as we can ascertain, two folders were forwarded to Christopher Cox. The "Air Force One" folder contents are now part of the Michael Deaver Series in the Counsel's Investigation Files. The "Gramm-Rudman" folder is now part of the Gramm-Rudman material within the Christopher Cox collection.


SERIES I: SUBJECT FILE, 1982-1986 (24.7 l.ft., Boxes 1-58)

This series, folder titles and contents are a reflection of the primary duties of Judge Roberts as outlined above. Folders contain memos, letters, handwritten notes, press clippings, reports, and publications on these duties and issues. The material is arranged in alphabetical order. If an acronym is used in the folder title, the folder is placed alphabetically according to the full name.

SERIES II: CHRONOLOGICAL FILE, 1982-1986 (3 l.ft., Boxes 59-67)

This series consists of outgoing letters and memorandum sent under Judge Robert's name. It is arranged in chronological order from November 1982 to April 1986.

Last Updated: 07/11/2023 06:57PM

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