Roberts grew up in northern Indiana and was educated in a private school before attending Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. After being admitted to the bar, he served as a law clerk for Judge Henry Friendly and then Justice Rehnquist before taking a position in the Attorney General's office during the Reagan Administration. He went on to serve the Reagan Administration and the George H. W. Bush administration in the Department of Justice and the Office of the White House Counsel, before spending 14 years in private law practice. During this time, he argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court.
In 2003, he was appointed as a judge of the D.C. Circuit by President George W. Bush, where he was serving when he was nominated to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, initially to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. When Chief Justice Rehnquist died before Roberts's confirmation hearings, Bush renominated Roberts to fill the newly vacant center seat.
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