US Chief Justice John Roberts to visit Victoria University’s Law School

The Chief Justice of the United States, the Honourable John G. Roberts, Jr., will visit Victoria University of Wellington’s Law School in July.

Old Government Buildings on a clear summer's day, with Rutherford House behind and the flame gum tree in full bloom

Chief Justice Roberts will teach a four-day executive development course, The United States Supreme Court in Historical Perspective, alongside Professor Richard J. Lazarus of Harvard University, at Victoria’s Law School.

The course will examine how the role and operation of the United States Supreme Court have changed over time, and consider the individuals and events that prompted these changes, as well as their contemporary significance.  

Chief Justice Roberts will also speak at an evening session in Wellington on 26 July, in conversation with Victoria University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law, Professor Mark Hickford.

Professor Hickford described the upcoming visit as a rare and special event. “This will be an unprecedented opportunity for New Zealanders to hear from one of the world’s most recognised and respected legal minds.

“Further, we are delighted to offer members of the New Zealand legal community the chance to learn directly from Chief Justice Roberts and Professor Lazarus,” he said.

“As one of the top 50 law schools in the world, and ranked first for research quality in New Zealand, Victoria’s Law School seeks to make a powerful contribution to the intellectual life of our country.

“Chief Justice Roberts and Professor Lazarus each have exceptional knowledge and insight to share. It’s an honour to host such distinguished guests.”

John G. Roberts, Jr., is the Chief Justice of the United States. Nominated by President George W. Bush, he took his seat on 29 September 2005. Chief Justice Roberts was Special Assistant to the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1981–1982; Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel’s Office from 1982–1986; and Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1989–1993. From 1986–1989 and 1993–2003, he practiced law in Washington, D.C. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2003.

Richard J. Lazarus is the Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law at Harvard University, where he teaches environmental law, natural resources Law, Supreme Court advocacy, and torts. Professor Lazarus has represented the United States, state and local governments, and environmental groups in the United States Supreme Court in 40 cases and has presented oral argument in 14 of those cases. His primary areas of legal scholarship are environmental and natural resources law, with particular emphasis on constitutional law and the Supreme Court.

For information about the course, please visit