Stephen Gerald Breyer is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Appointed in 1994, Breyer is often regarded as more liberal than most other members of the court. He is highly regarded across the political spectrum for his pragmatic, rather than ideological, approach to the Constitution. In Bush v. Gore, which settled the controversial 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, he issued a widely respected dissent which criticized those who would decide the case on the basis of equal protection. Breyer, a Rhodes Scholar, was educated at Stanford, Oxford and Harvard. He is the author of Breaking the Vicious Circle: Toward Effective Risk Regulation. Ideas recorded at the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival on: 7/5/07
Stephen Breyer: It was a very good time to grow up in San Francisco. It was a wonderful place. We lived in the city. My father was a lawyer for the San Francisco School Board. I still have his watch. It’s his watch. It says “Irving Breyer, San Francisco Unified School District, 1933 – 1973.” He was born in San Francisco. His father moved there, I guess, before the turn of the 20th century. My mother was from Saint Paul. She moved out. I had one brother who was younger. And San Francisco was, as I say, a wonderful place because it was . . . you could very easily get to the mountains. Or I was in the Boy Scouts. I loved the Boy Scouts. We’d go on hiking trips. We could . . . You could go across the Bay. The weather was good. And I don’t think we realized how lucky we were. It didn’t take a lot of money. It really didn’t. And today I guess you’d have to have a lot of money to live the way we did then without very much at all. The times were good.
Recorded on: 7/5/07