Longtime counselor to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts stepping down

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A longtime counselor to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is stepping down from his post, the court announced on Tuesday.

Jeffrey Minear will retire as the counselor to Roberts on Sept. 30, a position he was appointed to in 2006, not long after Roberts assumed his role as chief justice.

The counselor to a justice works essentially as a chief of staff, working with other court officers on initiatives and cases and acting as a liaison with the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

Minear said in a statement he was “profoundly honored to support Chief Justice Roberts and his colleagues.”

“I am departing the office with appreciation for the opportunity, with esteem for each member of the Supreme Court, and with the utmost confidence in the independence and integrity of our courts,” Minear said.

The departure comes as the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has faced additional scrutiny for overturning Roe v. Wade and the nearly 50-year constitutional right to abortion as well as for other cases reforming laws around gun control and religion in public government.

Polling last month revealed Democrats’ approval of the Supreme Court dropped to 13 percent, down from 36 percent in September 2021.

Roberts is a conservative justice who agreed with the Dobbs v. Jackson case that upheld a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, but he disagreed with overturning Roe v. Wade, which enshrined abortion as a constitutional right.

Roberts also took the spotlight this year when he ordered an investigation into the leak of a draft opinion that previewed the Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade.

Minear has had a long career with the legal system, working before he became a counselor for the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States, where he argued 56 cases before the Supreme Court.

Roberts in a statement said, “Minear has exemplified the finest tradition of Court staff.”

“He has brought deep knowledge, outstanding judgment, and a tireless work ethic to court management and improvement,” the chief justice said. “I am grateful for the many years he has served so well as my counselor and as an officer of federal judicial administration.”

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