U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, speaking at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting Monday, said lawyers should play a key role in mitigating the “sharp partisan divides” that have shaken public faith in government, reports the Associated Press. “Lawyers fulfill their professional calling to its fullest extent when they rise above particular partisan debates and participate as problem solvers,” he said in a rare public speech.
Roberts’ speech focused on the historical significance of the Magna Carta, an English charter written 800 years. He said its “core principles of justice” remain relevant today and are worth defending. “No person, no matter how high, is above the law,” he said. “I encourage you all, as officers of the courts, to set your sights on the far horizon, to ensure that our legal profession continues to advance that ideal.” Roberts said the Magna Carta was meant to resolve “squabbling” between the king and land-owning barons in feudal England but touched on “fundamental freedoms” like due process rights, separation of powers, and rule of law.