Thursday, July 13, 2017

Justice Breyer interview

Law360 continues its interview series, this week with Justice Breyer (part 1 and part 2). Key quotes:

“The role of courts during wartime is to continue to do what they do in peacetime,” he told Law360. “The content of the law might change, but the need for the law is no less. That differentiates the democracies of today from dictatorships and authoritarian regimes.”

Stephen Breyer, SCOTUS photo portrait.jpg“On the one hand, the Constitution is not a suicide pact, as Justice Robert Jackson said.” “On the other hand, that doesn’t mean he can write a blank check and put 70,000 American citizens of Japanese origin into prison for no reason.”

“The world is a world today where the international, global part, whether you’re talking about commerce, environment, security, whatever, is as much a part of our lives as the narrowest local part.” “Both are. The challenges to law, as it is to many other disciplines, is how to effectively look at all those sets of facts, and draw answers to problems that both throw out to the world.”

For Justice Breyer, oral arguments influence his thinking about a case almost half of the time. Ten to 15 percent of the time, they even change his mind on the outcome, he said. “You begin to formulate a view [of the case] when you read the briefs, even when you read the first question, then you keep changing your mind,” he said. “You’re open to new arguments. By the time you come to oral arguments, you understand the case pretty well. You have a point of view, but you’re still open to the other side.”