5 Questions: Justice Stephen Breyer

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breyer-photo5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –

Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, Justice Stephen Breyer is known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law. At his upcoming engagement with the Boston Speaker’s Series, he will explore themes from his book, “The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities”, which examines the interplay between U.S. and international law in a globalized world.

SD: In 2015, your third book was released, “The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities.” Why did your choose to write about this subject?

JSB: I want people to know how our court system works. It needs to be explained in language that everyone can understand. The court is really a very simple process. Also, judges need to know not just want is happening in our country but what is happening abroad. All people need to participate in helping change and solve problems in a peaceful manner.

SD: For you, why is it so important that the American people have a better understanding of the law?

JSB: In the 1950’s, when President Eisenhower sent thousands of troops to help in Little Rock with the “Little Rock Nine,” many people of America started to gradually understand the process of government. We do not have a perfect system, but we do have laws that you must abide by. Many have learned, at the expense of others, how to follow the rules of the law. It needs to be clear to all why you need to follow any decisions that a judge makes whether or not you agree with it. Every race, religion, and person has a different point of view and we all have to work towards a common goal of making this country work.

SD: In your experience, what makes a good Supreme Court judge?

JSB: History will have to say but, a good judge will pay attention to history, keep an open mind, and clearly explain why they reach a certain decision.

SD: What do you find most fulfilling about your role?

JSB: I go in each day and find my job challenging, interesting, and tough. This job gives me an opportunity to work toward the goals that I have for myself and this amazing country.

SD: What are your thoughts on this year’s presidential nominees?

JSB: If I have thoughts, I will not express them and should not express them.


For more information about Justice Stephen Breyer and to purchase tickets to see him at Symphony Hall on September 28th as part of the Boston Speakers Series visit www.bostonspeakersseries.org

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