Chief Justice Roberts Receives ALI's Friendly Medal
The American Law Institute presented John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States with the Henry J. Friendly Medal at the Institute’s 2023 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 23. Associate Justice Elena Kagan presented the award.
The medal was established in memory of Judge Henry J. Friendly, who was a member of the Council of The American Law Institute and a distinguished judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. It recognizes contributions to the law in the tradition of Judge Friendly and the Institute. It is not limited to ALI members or those associated with its projects. The medal is awarded on a periodic basis as appropriate.
When presenting the medal, Justice Kagan praised the Chief Justice’s writing. “The Chief is incapable of writing a bad sentence. His writing has depth, intelligence, crystal clarity, grace, humor and understated style,” said Justice Kagan. “That writing is, in my humble opinion, the best writing in law. He is a consummate legal craftsman.”
During his acceptance of the award, Chief Justice Roberts reflected on his path toward a career in the law and how his one-year journey as Judge Friendly’s law clerk taught him that one can live a good and full life in a career dedicated to the law. In closing, the Chief Justice thanked The American Law Institute on behalf of the federal courts for its significant contribution to the rule of law.
John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, was born in Buffalo, New York, January 27, 1955. He married Jane Sullivan in 1996 and they have two children - Josephine and Jack. He received an A.B. from Harvard College in 1976 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1979. He served as a law clerk for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1979–1980, and as a law clerk for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1980 Term. He served as a Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States from 1981–1982, Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel’s Office from 1982–1986, and as Principal Deputy Solicitor General from 1989–1993. From 1986–1989 and 1993–2003, he practiced law in Washington, D.C. He served as a Judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 2003-2005. Nominated as Chief Justice of the United States by President George W. Bush, he assumed that office on September 29, 2005.
Elena Kagan, Associate Justice, was born in New York, New York, on April 28, 1960. She received an A.B. from Princeton in 1981, an M. Phil. from Oxford in 1983, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986. She clerked for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1986-1987 and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1987 Term. After briefly practicing law at a Washington, D.C. law firm, she became a law professor, first at the University of Chicago Law School and later at Harvard Law School. She also served for four years in the Clinton Administration, as Associate Counsel to the President and then as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. Between 2003 and 2009, she served as the Dean of Harvard Law School. In 2009, President Obama nominated her as the Solicitor General of the United States. A year later, the President nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 10, 2010. She took her seat on August 7, 2010.