September 29, 2022

Stephen Breyer warns justices that some opinions could ‘bite you in the back’ in exclusive interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace

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Retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is warning colleagues against “writing too hard” on their opinions, saying that such decisions can “bite you in the back” in a world that is constantly changing.

In a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace on “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” which premiered Friday on HBOMax and aired Sunday night on CNN, Breyer also lamented his position in the court’s minority liberal bloc. What did His last year on the bench, Addressed the court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade and talked about continuing. Controversy regarding Guinea Thomas Wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.

Breyer said it was a “very frustrating” place to be in because he found himself dissenting in a number of historically consequential cases where he said the majority side (conservative — though the retired justices — did not elaborate on that. (not used) was not willing to budge.

“You start writing too hard and you see, the world will come around and bite you in the back,” Breyer said in his first television interview since leaving the bench earlier this year. “Because you’ll find something you see doesn’t work at all. And Supreme Courtsomewhat in contrast to others, such a problem lies in the whip.”

“Life is complicated, life changes,” added Brier. “And we want to maintain as much as we can – everybody does – some important moral values: democracy, human rights, equality, the rule of law, etc. To try to do that in a changing world. If you have to It seems you can do that by writing 16 computer programs – I just don’t agree.”

Breyer’s comments come days before the Supreme Court begins its first term without him in nearly 30 years. In the new term, the justices will consider issues including voting rights, immigration, affirmative action, environmental regulations and religious freedom – areas where solid conservative majorities could easily control the outcome.

RELATED: Supreme Court Can’t Avoid 2020 Presidential Race, Already Involved in 2024 Politics

During his last term on the bench, Breyer was often in the minority on some of the court’s most headline-grabbing cases, including those on abortion, gun rights and the environment. He told Wallace it was “very disappointing” to be in the minority in those cases, but said he carried the losses forward.

Breyer weighed in on the court’s controversial decision in June. Reverse Roe v. Wade, visibly emotional while discussing the landmark abortion rights case.

“And you say did I like Dobbs’ decision? Of course I didn’t. Of course I didn’t.” The retired justice raised his voice.

“Was I happy with it? Not for a moment. Did I do everything I could to convince people? Absolutely, absolutely. But we’re there and now we move on. We try to work together. do.”

Breyer also condemned the leaking earlier this year of a draft opinion overturning Roe and said the unprecedented breach of judicial protocol was “very damaging.”

03 Chris Wallace and Stephen Breyer


Was there an earthquake inside the court? Wallace asked.

“An earthquake?” Brier replied. “It was very damaging because something like this doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t happen. And there we are.”

Other judges have also blasted the leak – including Justice Elena Kagan, who earlier this month called it “terrifying” — and The public opinion of the High Court was spoiled After that.

Chief Justice John Roberts ordered an internal investigation shortly after the leak, and Keegan said recently that she expects the justices to be updated on the status of the investigation by the end of September.

Breyer was careful not to get into that during his interview. A drama about the political activism of Ginny Thomas, Her support of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse his election defeat has come under scrutiny because of her husband’s involvement in a case before the Supreme Court on Jan. 6 related to the House investigation.

Asked if he thought Ginny Thomas’s political activities were undermining the court’s position, Breyer replied: “I don’t go by that I strongly believe that women who are wives There are, including wives of Supreme Court judges, how to lead their own lives, careers, what kind of careers, etc.”

He added: “I’m not going to criticize Ginny Thomas, who I like. I’m not going to criticize Clarence, who I like. And there we are.”

Reflecting on his nearly three decades on the Supreme Court, Breyer alluded to the idea that relations between conservative and liberal justices had worsened as they approached retirement, acknowledging that “some Times” seems to have had two distinct camps on the bench.

“Less than you think. Less than you think … but I can never say,” he said.

Breyer said the court, which ․ Long known for its comprehensiveness, Using “pleasure” conversations, which typically occur between judges at lunchtime while they deliberate on a case as an example of a shift, has changed somewhat of late.

“Maybe a little less humorous, but I don’t mean it – I don’t hear people in that conference room screaming at each other in anger,” he said.

“I learned what you do from (Justice) Arthur Goldberg when I was his law clerk, and I try to follow that. And I learned it from Sen. (Ted) Kennedy. , when I worked for them,” Breyer said. “You do your best, you know, and maybe people will agree. And maybe they don’t. And maybe you’ll win. And maybe you’ll lose. And then what you do is you think about it for a while.

“Move on to the next thing, so you can do well on the next thing,” he added. “And just keep going.”

Breyer, who announced his retirement plans amid pressure from liberals who wanted him off the court while Democrats controlled the Senate and President Joe Biden was in office, said he now wants to quit. made the decision because he fears that he might if Republicans take over the chamber. Forced to sit on the bench for years while the GOP blocked the presidential nominee.

“You know, when the party is divided between control of the Senate and control of the presidency, there’s a delay,” Breyer said. “And sometimes, a long time has passed and I would prefer not to be involved in my own retirement, my own membership on the court, in what I call purely political issues.”

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