Stephen Breyer is an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, whom was appointed in the name of President Bill Clinton.
Who Is Stephen Breyer?
Stephen Breyer attended Harvard Law School and later became a professor of law for over two decades at his old school and was also an prosecutor assistant throughout the Watergate hearings. He was appointed as a justice of Supreme Court Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton and was sworn into office on August 3, 1994. He also wrote the book in 2010 entitled How to Make Our Democracy Work.
Early Years and Education
Stephen Gerald Breyer was born on August 15, 1938 in San Francisco, California. The father of Stephen, Irving is a legal advisor for the San Francisco Board of Education and his mother, Anne, volunteered for the League of Women Voters. The influence of his parents was evident and mentors, the potential Supreme Court justice developed an appreciation for the significance of public service.
Astonishingly intelligent at young age, Breyer was known as the “troop brain” among his colleagues Eagle Scouts. Breyer joined on the team for debate at Lowell High School in San Francisco and was selected as the “most likely to succeed” when he graduated in 1955.
After completing his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Stanford University in 1959, Breyer was a student at Oxford University’s Magdalen College as a Marshall Scholar. He then returned back to America in United States to enroll at Harvard Law School, joining the Harvard Law Review before graduating magna cum laude in the year 1964.
Early Legal Career
Breyer was a clerk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Arthur J. Goldberg during the 1964-1965 period, before becoming the special advisor to U.S. Associate Attorney General of Antitrust. The year 1967 saw him began on a long-term time as a professor of law at Harvard.
After his time as a member of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, in 1973, Breyer was appointed special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Breyer was praised in recognition of his work on behalf of both parties to liberalize the aviation industry. After the decade, he was named the Judiciary Committee’s chief counsel.
The lone judiciary appointment made by the outgoing president Jimmy Carter to be confirmed by the Senate, Breyer took office as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in December 1980. Breyer joined the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 1985, and in the year 1990 the commission appointed him as the chief judge for the Court of Appeals and a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Supreme Court Justice
At first, he was considered for a spot in the Supreme Court upon the retirement of Byron White in 1993, Breyer decided to wait a year to be a candidate for the president Bill Clinton’s nomination to replace Harry Blackmun. After a week of hearings the nominee was approved by the Senate in a vote of 87-9. He was appointed associate justice on the 3rd of August in 1994.
In his position as the high judiciary’s youngest justice over a record 11.5 years Breyer gained a reputation as a judge for pragmatic approach. He often argued against the views of his predecessor, Justice Antonin Scalia Breyer advocated for decision-making on the Constitution as being a “living” document that required the consideration of current issues. In this regard, he wrote his dissent in the appeal of District of Columbia v. Heller, which determined on it was the Second Amendment protects the right of citizens to own and carry firearms in self-defense.
Breyer often aligns himself against his more conservative counterparts, as was the case in a decision in 2014 which upheld the Michigan constitutional amendment which bans affirmative action when it comes to admissions to public universities of the state. However, he is often with the liberal wing of the court such as in the 2015 rulings , which upheld federal tax credits that are part of the Affordable Care Act as well as the constitutional rights of gay unions.
Personal Life and Books
While he was an assistant professor Breyer came across psychotherapist Joanna Hare, the daughter of British Conservative Party leader John Hare. They got married in 1967 and had three sons.
Breyer is a man with many other interests beyond law, such as cooking and cycling. Breyer was involved in a fatal bicycle accident while he was a candidate as a candidate for Supreme Court in 1993, and also met the President Clinton despite being recovering from a punctured lung and numerous fractured ribs.
One of the most acclaimed writers within the federal judiciary, Breyer has authored several books on federal regulations. He also presented his judicial philosophy in his 2005 work, Active Liberty: Understanding our Democratic Constitution, and in his book of the same name, Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s Perspective.