Steps away as the president introduced John Roberts (search) as a choice for the Supreme Court, the nominee's young son danced the heart out of his saddle shoes.
The boy's mother had a less-than-approving look on her face as she watched. At one point, she even held 4-year-old Jack by the arm of his light blue short-pants suit.
Judge Roberts did not seem to flinch.
"It was classic and it showed John being able to maintain his composure while his son was dancing in front of the president," said David Leitch (search), a former deputy White House counsel to Bush who worked with Roberts at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson.
Roberts and his wife, Jane, also have a daughter, 5-year-old Josie.
With the children, Roberts "has this real element of playfulness in his life," Leitch said.
It has been on public display before.
Two years ago, during Senate confirmation hearings on Roberts' nomination to a seat on the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., the children were present and, it seems, making some noise.
"The committee has already heard some unscheduled testimony from my children, Josephine and Jack," Roberts joked at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2003.
John Roberts and fellow lawyer Jane Sullivan (search) married in 1996, when they were both in their 40s, friends say. One of the groomsmen was Michael Luttig, a Richmond, Va.-based appeals court judge and candidate for the high court nomination that went to Roberts.
The couple tried to have children of their own. But after some time they were, "as they will say, blessed to be able to adopt a couple of adorable young kids," Shannen Coffin, a former deputy assistant attorney general in Bush's first term and a Roberts friend, told reporters Wednesday.
"I think right now undoubtedly what John likes is spending time with Jack and Josie," said Richard Lazarus, a Georgetown University law professor and 30-year friend of Roberts, who is 50.
Mrs. Roberts, a graduate of Georgetown Law Center, is a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, where she specializes in communications and technology. She is a member of the Supreme Court bar.
They live just outside Washington, in Chevy Chase, Md., in a two-story, white brick Colonial recently assessed at more than $891,000, according to Montgomery County, Md., property tax records. Recently, 42 single-family homes for sale in the same zip code were priced between $739,000 to $4.7 million, with only 11 below $1 million.
Roberts mows the lawn himself, a neighbor said.
He attended Catholic elementary and high schools in Indiana and is a parishioner at Little Flower Catholic Church in Bethesda, not far from his home.
Mrs. Roberts is on the board of governors of the John Carroll Society, a Catholic lay group that sponsors a Mass every year before the start of the new Supreme Court term.
She was on the board of directors for Feminists for Life from 1995-1999 and at one time was its executive vice president. She currently does pro bono legal work for the organization.
Roberts was born in Buffalo, N.Y. When he was young, his family moved to Long Beach, Ind. His father, John G. Roberts Sr., was an electrical engineer who worked in the steel mills near Gary, Ind. Roberts also worked the mills during summers in high school and college.
He has three sisters — one in Indiana and two in the Baltimore area, where their parents live.
The entire family attended Roberts' hearing two years ago, but they were tightlipped Wednesday.
Roberts' mother, Rosemary Roberts, and sister Barbara Burke declined to be interviewed at their homes in Ellicott City, Md., and Hampstead, Md., respectively. No one answered at what was believed to be the Timonium, Md., home of sister Margaret (Peggy) Roberts. The sister in Indiana did not return a telephone message left Wednesday.