Stephen Breyer currently serves as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court, a position he has held since 1994. His extensive legal experience and authorship of several law textbooks has made him an integral member of the Supreme Court.
Breyer was born on August 15, 1938, in San Francisco, California. Breyer received Bachelor degrees from both Stanford University and later Magdalen College at Oxford University before receiving his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1964. At Harvard he was a member of the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude.
Following graduation, Breyer clerked for Supreme Court Associate Justice Arthur Goldberg for the 1964-65 term. He then worked for the United States Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust as a special assistant between 1965 and 1967. In 1973, Breyer served as assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Task Force, prior to taking on the role of special counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary in 1974. Between 1979 and 1980, he served as chief counsel on the committee.
From 1967 to 1994 Breyer taught at Harvard Law School. he was also a visiting professor at College of Law in Sydney, Australia, the University of Rome, and Tulane University of Law. He authored two books and a piece of scholarship relating to copyright laws.
In 1980, Breyer was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by President Jimmy Carter. In this role, Breyer became known for his moderate thinking, leaning neither to the left nor the right.
Supreme Court Justice
In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated Breyer to serve as a Justice on the Supreme Court following Harry Blackmun’s retirement. Breyer has been called a pragmatist and noted that he tends to look more closely at the purpose and consequences of a law’s constitutionality rather than the literal text, history, and language. Known as being more liberal than his legal counterparts, he has consistently voted in favor of abortion rights and argued that the Founding Fathers intended to establish a democracy that extended the maximum rights and liberties for its citizens.
Breyer’s rulings also demonstrate that he more frequently defers to Congress and the executive branch at a higher rate than the other Justices on the bench. The same holds true when it comes cases involving the First Amendment and law enforcement, during which times Breyer typically favors the arguments of law enforcement.
When Breyer is not in court, he spends a great deal of his time writing and authoring legal books. His most recent book, Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View, was released in 2010.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ARTICLES
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In United States v Peters, 9 U.S. 115 (1809), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the legislature of a ...
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- Establishment ClauseFree Exercise Clause
- Freedom of Speech
- Freedoms of Press
- Freedom of Assembly, and Petitition
- The Right to Bear Arms
- Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
- Due Process
- Eminent Domain
- Rights of Criminal Defendants
Preamble to the Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.