NBC News Correspondent Pete Williams to Retire After 3 Decades of Covering Justice Department

The 70-year-old scoop master will sign off at the end of July

pete williams
NBC News

The Supreme Court’s fragile secrets are a little safer now that Pete Williams is hanging up the keyboard.

Williams, who covered the Court and Justice Department during his 29 years at NBC News, is retiring at the end of July, The Washington Post first reported Thursday. NBC News did not immediately return messages seeking confirmation.

If something happened at SCOTUS or DOJ and you heard about it, Williams probably heard about it first. He broke big stories by the dozen, most recently being the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer – who was not pleased that news had gotten out (for the record, Williams was not involved in the internal leak of the Court’s Roe v. Wade draft decision, which POLITICO first reported).

Williams’ retirement was announced Thursday morning by NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, WSJ reported. Mediate confirmed the news and obtained NBC’s internal memo.

“Pete has been one of the nation’s foremost authorities covering the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice for nearly three decades,” Oppenheim wrote, according to Mediaite. “His career has been defined by his reputation for accuracy, reliability, and unmatched expertise in the subjects he covers.”

Williams was born in Wyoming, where he got his start as a writer and news director before becoming a Pentagon spokesperson under Dick Cheney. Beyond being a bloodhound journalist, Williams spent countless hours on camera discussing and analyzing nearly every big case that’s come through the courts and beyond.

“From the most consequential Supreme Court cases of our time – like marriage equality and the legal battles over the Affordable Care Act – to major breaking news events – like 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, and so much more – Pete’s reporting has always been ironclad. His ability to break down the most complex and fast-developing situations is uncanny,” Oppenheim wrote.