Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will visit Japan in July at the invitation of his counterpart Chief Justice Itsuro Terada, the courts announced today.
Roberts will give a lecture at the University of Tokyo and teach a class at Kyoto University, the court said.
Supreme Court justices traditionally disperse around the world when their work is done at the end of June, usually for paid teaching gigs at overseas programs sponsored by American law schools. Roberts has done a number of those.
The end of the current term is expected to be an especially important — and likely contentious — one. The court has important cases on the Affordable Care Act and whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry. The justices have joked in the past that it is sometimes good for their working relationships that they separate once divisive issues are settled.
After Roberts cast the deciding vote in 2012 to uphold the constitutionality of Obamacare, he noted that he was leaving to lecture in Malta.
“An impregnable island fortress,” Roberts told a conference of judges and lawyers just after the decision. “It seemed like a good idea.”
Here’s the court’s announcement of the Japan trip:
Today the Supreme Court of Japan announced that the Chief Justice of the United States will visit in July, 2015, at the invitation of Chief Justice Itsuro Terada and the Associate Justices to discuss matters of common interest. The invitation to Chief Justice Roberts was prompted by a visit to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 by then-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan, Hironobu Takesaki, who observed oral arguments and met with the Justices while in Washington, D.C.
This is Chief Justice Roberts’s first visit to Japan as Chief Justice and the fourth visit by a Chief Justice of the United States. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger visited the Supreme Court of Japan in 1974 and in 1981. Chief Justice Earl Warren visited in 1967.
While there, Chief Justice Roberts will give a public lecture at the University of Tokyo regarding the role of the Chief Justice of the United States, and he will teach a class at Kyoto University.