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Updated 9:30 AM September 8, 2009

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Supreme Court justice to visit Law School, attend groundbreaking

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. will visit the Law School Sept. 11, taking part in an informal question-and-answer session and in a ceremony breaking ground for the school's planned new academic building.

The school celebrates decades of global leadership in law with a four-day sesquicentennial gala Sept. 10-13, and includes the groundbreaking ceremony for a $102 million expansion and renovation project.

"A Conversation with Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr." begins at 10 a.m. in Hill Auditorium, with Law School Dean Evan Caminker moderating the session. The ticketed event is free of charge, but only open to members of the Law School community, their guests and credentialed members of the news media.

Later that same day, at 2 p.m., the chief justice will attend a groundbreaking ceremony at State and Monroe streets marking the Law School's construction of a new academic building and a new two-level student commons that will house gathering and study spots for students, faculty and staff. President Mary Sue Coleman and Caminker are both expected to give remarks at the ceremony.

Caminker says he's honored that Roberts will be on hand to witness such an important milestone in the Law School's history.

"Training top-notch lawyers is only part of what we have always done here at Michigan Law," Caminker says. "And while these magnificent new buildings will allow us to continue to do that as well as any institution in the country, they also will help us shape new generations of civil leaders who understand the importance of public service."

Roberts is the third Supreme Court justice to visit the Law School in five years. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy spoke at the Law School last year, and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia lectured in November 2004 at Rackham Auditorium.

Nominated as chief justice of the United States by President George W. Bush, Roberts assumed that office on Sept. 29, 2005. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 1976 and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1979.

He served as a law clerk for Judge Henry Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1979-80, and as a law clerk for then-Justice William Rehnquist of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1980 term. He also served as a special assistant to the attorney general of the United States from 1981-82, as associate counsel to President Reagan from 1982-86 and as principal deputy solicitor general from 1989-93. From 1986-89 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 2003-05.

He married Jane Sullivan in 1996 and they have two children: Josephine and John.

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