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Supreme Court Faces Credibility Crisis After Chief Justice’s Wife Found To Be Paid By Law Firms

  • June 11, 2023

Many Americans believe the country’s political leaders — especially leaders of the opposite party — have dangerously extremist views, are pushing the country in the wrong direction, and in some cases are corrupt. Moreover, divisions in the country seem to have dramatically widened over the last decade and show no signs of lessening.

Skepticism about U.S. leaders has even filtered down to perhaps the most respected of all U.S. institutions, the country’s Supreme Court. Increasingly, a make-or-break characteristic of a Supreme Court appointee seems to be his or her political views, prompting many to question the impartiality of justices with lifetime appointments to the nation’s highest judicial body.

Such concerns will doubtless be magnified by the April 28 media reports that Jane Roberts, the wife of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, was paid US$10.3 million by corporations and law firms for her services as a legal recruiter who placed high-priced attorneys at those entities over the eight-year period of 2007-2014. 

At least one of the law firms (which paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars for her services) argued a case before the Chief Justice Roberts-led Supreme Court, and other law firms which paid Ms. Roberts could be seeking to do so as well. Justice Roberts has been Chief Justice of the Supreme Court since 2005.

Ms. Roberts continues to work as a legal recruiter or headhunter. Judge Roberts’ most recently filed financial disclosure makes no mention of the amount of money his wife makes, nor which firms

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Jane Roberts, who is married to Chief Justice John Roberts, made $10.3 million in commissions from elite law firms, whistleblower documents show

  • May 29, 2023
John and Jane Roberts arriving for a state dinner

Jane Sullivan Roberts, the spouse of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts made more than $10 million in commissions as a headhunter for top-tier law firms between 2007 and 2014, according to internal documents included with a whistleblower complaint.Alex Brandon/AP

  • Jane Roberts was paid more than $10 million by a host of elite law firms, a whistleblower alleges.

  • At least one of those firms argued a case before Chief Justice Roberts after paying his wife hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  • Details of Jane Roberts’ work come as Congress struggles to reform the Court’s self-policed ethics.

Two years after John Roberts’ confirmation as the Supreme Court’s chief justice in 2005, his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, made a pivot. After a long and distinguished career as a lawyer, she refashioned herself as a legal recruiter, a matchmaker who pairs job-hunting lawyers up with corporations and firms.

Roberts told a friend that the change was motivated by a desire to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest, given that her husband was now the highest-ranking judge in the country. “There are many paths to the good life,” she said. “There are so many things to do if you’re open to change and opportunity.”

And life was indeed good for the Robertses, at least for the years 2007 to 2014. During that eight-year stretch, according to internal records from her employer, Jane Roberts generated a whopping $10.3 million in commissions, paid out by corporations and law firms for placing high-dollar lawyers with them.

That eye-popping figure comes from records in a whistleblower complaint filed by a disgruntled former colleague of Roberts, who says that as the spouse of the most powerful judge in the United States, the income she earns from law firms who practice before the Court should be subject to public

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