Judge John Roll

by David French

While I can’t claim to have known Judge Roll as well as many other attorneys at the Alliance Defense Fund did (our headquarters is in Arizona), I did speak with him several times and knew him by reputation. He was a great American — a man of deep faith, a longtime public servant of the highest integrity, and unfailingly kind and humble. Appointed to the court by the first President Bush, he began his legal career in 1972 as a bailiff in Pima County Superior Court. He worked his way up through virtually every level of the legal system — from bailiff to assistant city attorney, to deputy county attorney, to assistant U.S. Attorney, to the state court bench, and finally, to the federal judiciary.

In short, Judge Roll was exactly the kind of man a nation needs in its halls of justice. ADF president Alan Sears’s statement Saturday sums it all up:

Chief Judge Roll was a great lawyer, sound jurist, and a long-time friend. Our hearts are deeply grieved over this tragedy. His untimely death is a huge loss for America’s judicial system and for all of us, personally. One consolation we have in our grief is that because of John’s fervent love for the Lord, he is right now rejoicing in the loving presence of his Creator. We will keep the judge’s family and his countless friends and students in our prayers.

David French is senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom.