Chief Justice of the United States to visit Jackson Sept. 27 for Judiciary Bicentennial

September 14, 2017

The Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr., will visit the Mississippi Supreme Court on Sept. 27 to celebrate the Bicentennial of the Mississippi Judiciary.

Chief Justice Roberts will swear in appellate court staff attorneys and law clerks to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, meet with Mississippi appellate judges and staff, judge a law school Moot Court competition, and attend an evening banquet hosted by the Bicentennial of Mississippi’s Judiciary and Legal Profession Committee.

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. said, “The Mississippi Supreme Court is very honored to host a visit from Chief Justice John Roberts. The visit by the Chief Justice of the United States demonstrates the importance of the judiciary and legal profession to the effective functioning of our democracy over the past 200 years.”

The Moot Court competition will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the En Banc Courtroom at the Supreme Court at 450 High Street in Jackson. Law students from Mississippi College School of Law and the University of Mississippi School of Law will participate in the competition. Chief Justice Roberts will preside over a panel of judges that will include Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Waller, Mississippi Court of Appeals Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee, Chief Judge Sharion Aycock of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, and Chief Judge Louis Guirola Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The Moot Court competition is open to the public.

A reception is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Jackson Hilton on County Line Road, followed by a banquet at 7 p.m. Chief Justice Roberts and Chief Justice Waller will speak. Banquet attendance is limited to judges, attorneys, law students and credentialed media.

Media wishing to cover the 3:30 p.m. Moot Court or the 7 p.m. banquet must contact the Public Information Office by Sept. 21 to obtain a press pass. Call Public Information Officer Beverly Pettigrew Kraft at 601-576-4637 or e-mail

Chief Justice Roberts, 62, has served as the head of the nation’s judicial branch since Sept. 29, 2005. He was nominated by President George W. Bush. He was born in Buffalo, NY, and grew up in Indiana. 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 U.S. Supreme Court during the 1980 term. He was Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General 1981–1982, Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel’s Office from 1982 to1986, and Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1989 to 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.

Mississippi’s first high court was created by the 1817 Constitution. The court met in Natchez in 1818 and continued to hold its semi-annual meetings in Natchez even after the seat of state government moved briefly to Columbia, then to Jackson. The 1826 state General Assembly ordered the court to meet in Monticello, but returned the court to Natchez two years later. The 1832 Constitution created the High Court of Errors and Appeals, and the Legislature moved the place of holding court to Jackson. The Constitution of 1868 renamed the body the Supreme Court.