Skip to main content

Justice Stephen Breyer

Sunday, February 20, 2022
1:00pm Pacific Time
KQED Broadcast: 02/20/2022

We've made a recording of this event free to all. Please support our institution and these productions by making a tax-deductible contribution.

In light of Justice Breyer’s recent decision to retire from the Supreme Court, City Arts & Lectures is re-broadcasting his 2015 conversation with Marcia Coyle, in which the pair discuss his book, The Court and The World.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer is the author of many books, including Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View and Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution. Born in San Francisco, Breyer received a BA in philosophy from Stanford, attended Oxford as a Marshall Scholar, and earned his law degree from Harvard University. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1994 by President Clinton. Breyer is known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law, urging judges to consider both the purpose of statutory and constitutional text, as well as the potential consequences of specific rulings when deciding cases.  His optimistic viewpoint, well articulated in his books, describes judges as essential in building “productive working relationships with other institutions,” especially Congress and the Executive branches. His latest book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics (2021), is a reflection on the authority of the Supreme Court—both how that authority was gained, and how measures to restructure it could undermine the Court itself as well as the constitutional system of checks and balances that depends on it.

Marcia Coyle is a lawyer, journalist, and the Chief Washington Correspondent for The National Law Journal, covering the U.S. Supreme Court and national legal issues. She has written about the Supreme Court for over 25 years, with her coverage appearing in VogueMs. Magazine, The New York Times Books Review, and many others. She is also a regular contributor of Supreme Court analysis to PBS’ The NewsHour.