Owen Josephus Roberts

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Roberts, Owen Josephus,

1875–1955, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1930–45), b. Philadelphia. After receiving (1898) his law degree from the Univ. of Pennsylvania, he practiced law in Philadelphia, taught (1898–1918) at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, and served as assistant district attorney (1901–4) of Philadelphia co. During World War I he was appointed by the U.S. Attorney General to prosecute cases involving espionage, and he became nationally known as a prosecuting attorney in the Teapot Dome scandal (1924). Appointed (1930) to the Supreme Court by President Hoover, Roberts faced with other justices the problems of legislation for a depression economy. After 1935 he allied himself with the conservative group, but later he supported New Deal legislation. He was appointed to investigate the Pearl Harbor disaster. After he resigned from the Supreme Court, he was (1948–51) dean of the Univ. of Pennsylvania law school. He wrote The Court and the Constitution (1951).


See study by C. A. Leonard (1971).

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