Stephen Breyer
Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
00:54

Making Your Dissent Heard

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Justice Stephen Breyer reflects on why he has taken the step of reading his dissenting opinions from the bench, which is not a common practice for a Supreme Court Justice.

Stephen Breyer

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

Transcript

Stephen Breyer: Well it’s always been true that usually once or twice a year, someone . . . someone will read a dissent from the bench. And it’s typically a dissent in a case that we think has some importance, and that we think . . . the dissenters usually think is very wrongly decided. The normal attitude when you write a dissent is “how right I am”. I mean that’s human nature. But there have been more than usual. And I think what the dissenters have been saying in their dissents is we think there are quite a few decisions with which we strongly disagree.

Recorded on: 7/5/07


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