John Glover Roberts Jr. (born January 27, 1955) is an American lawyer and jurist who has served as the 17th chief justice of the United States since 2005. Roberts has authored the majority opinion in several landmark cases, including National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, Shelby County v. Holder, and Riley v. California. He has been described as having a conservative judicial philosophy but, above all, is an institutionalist. He has shown a willingness to work with the Supreme Court's liberal bloc, and after the retirement of Anthony Kennedy in 2018, he has been regarded as the primary swing vote on the Court.
- By properly contenting itself with the decision of actual cases or controversies at the instance of someone suffering distinct and palpable injury, the judiciary leaves for the political branches the generalized grievances that are their responsibility under the Constitution. Far from an assault on the other branches, this is an insistence that they are supreme within their respective spheres, protected from intrusion — however welcome or invited — of the judiciary. Separation of powers is a zero-sum game. If one branch unconstitutionally aggrandizes itself, it is at the expense of one of the other branches.
- The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
- But the First Amendment protects against the Government; it does not leave us at the mercy of noblesse oblige. We would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the Government promised to use it responsibly. [...] The Government’s assurance that it will apply [a statutory provision] more restrictively than its language provides is pertinent only as an implicit acknowledgment of the potential constitutional problems with a more natural reading.
- United States v. Stevens, 559 U.S. ___, 130 S.Ct. 1577 (2010) (Opinion of the Court).
- Alternatively, the Government proposes that law enforcement agencies "develop protocols to address" concerns raised by cloud computing. Probably a good idea, but the Founders did not fight a revolution to gain the right to government agency protocols.
- Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law... Just who do we think we are?
- Dissent on Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling — Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015)
- We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.
- Roberts' remarks after President Trump called a judge who had ruled against his migrant asylum order an 'Obama judge' (2018).
Quotes about Roberts
- Either he is a liar or he is too naïve to hold any important job including, and especially, this one. This is like a legal ruling written by the little mermaid.
- Bill Maher, on Roberts' ruling, "which said spending large sums of money in elections does not give rise to quid pro quo corruption nor the possibility that an individual would garner influence over elected officials"; HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher (4 April 2014), as quoted in "Bill Maher: Ruling shows 'idiots' won", Politico (5 April 2014)
- Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute 
- the people's right to have their day in court is being foreclosed. Corporate victories in federal and state elections work hand in hand with this mission by assuring the nomination of more commercially-responsive judges such as Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia and Alito, with the same being true in many states.
- Ralph Nader, Breaking Through Power (2016)
- Chief Justice John Roberts memorably quipped, in the Parents Involved decision that gutted Brown, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," which actually meant, ignore the effects of discrimination by pretending to be color-blind.
- Adam Serwer, The Cruelty is the Point (2021)
- While John Roberts was surely chosen for a number of reasons-his thin judicial record not the least of them-I do think the Bushies were aware that his golden-boy appearance would be good PR. Even many Democrats were duped into viewing him as a sort of "moderate" conservative. Beneath the attractive facade and genteel personality, however, lies a hideous, Borkish creature. His rulings since I drew this cartoon have neatly borne out my prediction that he would steer the court to the hard right.
- Jen Sorensen, Slowpoke: One nation, oh my God! (2008)
- Samuel Alito
- Amy Coney Barrett
- Stephen Breyer
- Neil Gorsuch
- Ketanji Brown Jackson
- Elena Kagan
- Brett Kavanaugh
- Sonia Sotomayor
- Clarence Thomas