Stephen Breyer On How The Supreme Court Justices Get Along | KERA News

Stephen Breyer On How The Supreme Court Justices Get Along

Dec 13, 2016

Justice Stephen Breyer has served on the Supreme Court for more than 20 years. On Think, Krys Boyd talked with him about his career on the bench and his book “The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities.”

The KERA Interview

Stephen Breyer on …

… how the justices work together:

“My job is to think what I think but work with eight other people. And I have to get to a situation where I’m trying to get an opinion of the court. The world is not interested, shouldn’t be, in the Constitution according to me, or Sandra O’Connor, or Nino Scalia, or somebody else. It’s interested in what the opinion of the court will be. We’re in a world where we have to work together over a long period of time to do our job. I think in that period we’ve learned that it works best when, as I’ve said, I’ve never heard a voice raised in anger in that conference room no matter how outrageous I think the other position is. Doesn’t matter. They might think mine is outrageous. I’ve never heard a voice say of another person anything insulting or rude. Just doesn’t happen.”

… the need for diversity on the court:  

“I think an appellate judge has to have a pretty sensitive imagination or understanding of many of the different kinds of people who will be affected by what they write and how. The broader the diversity of background and experiences on the court, I think the better.”     

… why we should get to know legal systems around the world:  

“In order to help deal with problems of the environment, security, health, you name it, more and more have an international aspect. Indeed, you have to work with other people in trying to resolve them. People who aren’t necessarily Americans. It’s a test. Can we do it? What happens if we don’t? The world will go its way without us. They will try without us to deal with these problems, and we’ll have to live with the result.”