Alaska History Footnotes: John Roberts
An irregular series of historical footnotes that were overlooked in your Alaska history class.
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who has managed to make himself loathed by liberals and conservatives alike, was originally President Bush’s nominee for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. His nomination expired before the Senate acted upon it, so he returned to private practice at the D.C. law firm Hogan & Hartson and became the head of the firm’s appellate practice.
While at Hogan & Hartson, he argued a series of cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, including representing the State of Alaska in the Knowles administration on the appeal of State of Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government. The case involved whether native villages could impose taxes on activities on their land. Justice Thomas, writing for a unanimous court, held that the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act had largely abolished Native reservations in Alaska and, with them, the taxing power.
So, in 1997, John Roberts was Alaska’s attorney. It is partly our fault.