Chief Justice of the United States visit

3 September 2010

The Dean, Professor Gillian Triggs with Chief Justice Roberts.

The most senior and most distinguished judicial officer in the United States, described as 'one of the outstanding legal leaders and thinkers of our time', Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jrdelivered a lecture at the Sydney Law School recently.

The lecture was presented by the University of Sydney together with the Australian American Leadership Dialogue (AALD) and Corrs Chambers Westgarth Lawyers.

Professor Gillian Triggs from Sydney Law School delivered the opening address, introducing the Chief Justice as a "judicial minimalist".

"John Roberts was nominated as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court by President George W Bush in 2003," said Professor Triggs, "and has just completed five years on the Supreme Court. He is known as a 'judicial minimalist' emphasizing a respect for legal precedent. Indeed, looking at some of the Chief Justice's judgments it is clear that the he has wrestled with many issues that concern our own courts. We look forward to hearing more about the Supreme Court and some of its judgments."

L - R: The Hon Sir Gerard Brennan, AC KBE (former Chief Justice of Australia); Professor Gillian Triggs (Dean, Sydney Law School); Mr Murray Gleeson (former Chief Justice of Australia); Mrs Jane Sullivan Roberts; The Hon Sir Anthony Mason, AC KBE (former Chief Justice of Australia); The Hon John G. Roberts, Jr (Chief Justice of the United States); The Hon James Spigelman (Chief Justice of NSW); Ambassador Jeffrey L Bleich (United States Ambassador to Australia); Dr Michael Spence (Vice Chancellor, University of Sydney); Mr Stephen Price (Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth).

Justice Roberts discussed the origins of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution and the jurisprudence of the United States Supreme Court, which has continually attracted attention and lively interest in Australia.

Anticipation for the Chief Justice's Address was exceptionally high and all reservations for auditorium seating were exhausted as soon as registrations opened.

Justice Roberts was nominated by President George W. Bush, to succeed the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist and took his seat on 29 September 2005. He was a Federal Court Judge who had previously served in the administration of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior as well as in private practice.

The Chief Justice gave the Address to an audience of 300 and this was one of three lectures to be presented during his visit in Australia. Other lectures taking place will be held at Melbourne Law School and the University of Queensland's TC Beirne School of Law.

Following his Address, there was a private dinner hosted by the Dean of Sydney Law School Professor Gillian Triggs, the AALD and Corrs Chambers Westgarth Lawyers. It was attended by the University of Sydney's Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence, former Chief Justices of the High Court of Australia as well as prominent Australian legal professionals.

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

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