Breyer defends the state of the Supreme Court in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria
“There are a lot of legal differences,” said Breyer. “It is not correct to say that it is political in the usual sense of politics.”
The court stands ready to deal with issues that dominate political discourse, including disputes over abortion, gun rights and religious freedom, in the next term in office. The judges caused an uproar earlier this month when a 5-4 court enacted a controversial Texas law banning most abortions in the state while appealing, changing the fate of Roe v. Wade’s 1973 decision that was legalized challenged abortion nationwide. Breyer contradicted the order, saying it could threaten the clinics with “impending and serious damage.”
Breyer told Zakaria that he was aware that liberal groups have launched a campaign to pressure him to retire so that President Joe Biden has a chance to appoint a younger progressive to the bank, especially while the Senate rejects Democrat .
“I don’t live on Pluto,” said the 83-year-old judge, “which means that I think I am as clear as possible about what is happening in the country.”
He allowed that, although he will retire at some point, “because I don’t want to die in office there,” he didn’t decide exactly when. “There are many considerations,” said Breyer. “But not here, not now.”
Breyer is in the process of promoting his latest book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics, based on an earlier Harvard speech in which he expressed concern about the possible erosion of public confidence in the court’s opinions Expressed and criticized the practice of referring judges by the presidential party who appointed them rather than their legal differences.
He repeated his well-known mantra over the years that the court is not made up of “junior politicians”.
In an interview on Sunday, he said that with the appointment of the president, the court can adjust to political circumstances over time, but rejected any notion that he was blinded by a new reality that the court has become more ideological in recent years has become. “If you look back in history, you know that the dish has had many ups and downs.”
While defending the court, Breyer said he had never seen his colleagues exchange votes and pointed to a few cases of hot button issues that did not break down along known ideological lines. He said the court was responding to a public pursuit of the rule of law.
“It’s not too difficult to see what is happening in countries and places and at times when people are not following the rule of law,” he warned.
Two conservative judges also argued this week that the court is above politics.
Echoing Breyer, Judge Amy Coney Barrett told a Kentucky audience that her goal was to convince them that the “court is not a bunch of partisan hacks,” according to the Louisville Courier Journal. And in a sweeping speech on Thursday night, Judge Clarence Thomas said the biggest misunderstanding about the court is that people think judges are like politicians.
“I think the media makes it sound like you always match your personal preferences,” said Thomas. “So when they think you’re against abortion,” they think, “that’s the way you always come out.”
“That’s a problem,” said Thomas. “You will endanger all trust in the legal institutions.”