A Conversation on the Constitution: Perspectives from Active Liberty and A Matter of Interpretation with Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Moderated by ABC News Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, was born in San Francisco, California, August 15, 1938.
He received an A.B. from Stanford University, a B.A. from Magdalen College, Oxford, and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to Justice Arthur Goldberg of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1964 Term, as a Special Assistant to the Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Antitrust, 1965-1967, as an Assistant Special Prosecutor of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, 1973, as Special Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, 1974-1975, and as Chief Counsel of the committee, 1979-1980.
He was an Assistant Professor, Professor of Law, and Lecturer at Harvard Law School, 1967-1994, a Professor at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, 1977-1980, and a Visiting Professor at the College of Law, Sydney, Australia and at the University of Rome.
From 1980-1990, he served as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and as its Chief Judge, 1990-1994. He also served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 1990-1994, and of the United States Sentencing Commission, 1985-1989.
President Clinton nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat August 3, 1994.
Lisa Brown is the Executive Director of the American Constitution Society.
She came to ACS from Relman & Associates, a civil rights firm in Washington, D.C. Lisa was Counsel to the Vice President of the United States from September 1999 through January 2001, and Deputy Counsel from April 1997 through August 1999. In addition to advising the Vice President and his staff on legal matters, she handled civil rights issues, served on the Executive Board of the President's Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities, and worked closely with the Vice President's Domestic Policy Office on a variety of legislative initiatives.
Jan Crawford Greenburg
Jan Crawford Greenburg is an ABC News Correspondent based in Washington, D.C. where she covers the Supreme Court and provides legal analysis for all ABC News broadcasts.
Prior to joining ABC, Ms. Greenburg was the national legal affairs reporter for the Chicago Tribune, where she covered the Supreme Court and national legal issues, including judicial appointments and confirmation battles.
Eugene B. Meyer
Eugene B. Meyer's is President of The Federalist Society.
Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice, was born in Trenton, New Jersey, March 11, 1936. He received his A.B. from Georgetown University and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School, and was a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University from 1960-1961.
He was in private practice in Cleveland, Ohio from 1961-1967, a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia from 1967-1971, and a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago from 1977-1982, and a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University and Stanford University.
He was chairman of the American Bar Association's Section of Administrative Law, 1981-1982, and its Conference of Section Chairmen, 1982-1983. He served the federal government as General Counsel of the Office of Telecommunications Policy from 1971-1972, Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States from 1972-1974, and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel from 1974-1977.
He was appointed Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1982. President Reagan nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat September 26, 1986.
Fundamental law of the U.S. federal system of government and a landmark document of the Western world. It is the oldest written national constitution in operation, completed in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention of 55 delegates who met in Philadelphia, ostensibly to amend the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution was ratified in June 1788, but because ratification in many states was contingent on the promised addition of a Bill of Rights, Congress proposed 12 amendments in September 1789; 10 were ratified by the states, and their adoption was certified on Dec. 15, 1791. The framers were especially concerned with limiting the power of the government and securing the liberty of citizens. The Constitution's separation of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, the checks and balances of each branch against the other, and the explicit guarantees of individual liberty were all designed to strike a balance between authority and liberty. Article I vests all legislative powers in the Congressthe House of Representatives and the Senate. Article II vests executive power in the president. Article III places judicial power in the hands of the courts. Article IV deals, in part, with relations among the states and with the privileges of the citizens, Article V with amendment procedure, and Article VI with public debts and the supremacy of the Constitution. Article VII stipulates that the Constitution would become operational after being ratified by nine states. The 10th Amendment limits the national government's powers to those expressly listed in the Constitution; the states, unless otherwise restricted, possess all the remaining (or residual) powers of government. Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or by a convention called by Congress on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the states. (All subsequent amendments have been initiated by Congress.) Amendments proposed by Congress must be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures or by conventions in as many states. Twenty-seven amendments have been added to the Constitution since 1789. In addition to the Bill of Rights, these include the 13th (1865), abolishing slavery; the 14th (1868), requiring due process and equal protection under the law; the 15th (1870), guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race; the 17th (1913), providing for the direct election of U.S. senators; the 19th (1920), instituting women's suffrage, and the 22nd (1951), limiting the presidency to two terms. See alsocivil liberty; commerce clause; Equal Rights Amendment; establishment clause; freedom of speech; judiciary; states' rights.
J. Scalia is the narrow thinking "conservative" regarding marriage and the inclusion of those whose sexual climaxes are not achieved from heterosexual intercourse (which sometimes includes sodomies).
J. Scalia, please advise what interest the state has in if anyone achieves a sexual climax much less how anyone achieves a sexual climax, for the interest of the state in one's sexuality is what the argument denying the rights and benefits of marriage really is about.
And if the state has an interest in that sexuality, then what restrictions if any can be placed on the states interest in personal sexual expression? Should J. Scalia's sexual adventures be of interest to the state?
Should conservatives fear that masturbators will seek to be allowed to marry themselves? What benerfits could they possibly receive?
J. Scalia, like all good conservatives as well as centrists, uses false arguments to keep Americans from reaching their full Constitutional potential, which of course also keeps America from reaching its full national potential, dooming America to a failure worse than mediocrity.
Responding very late as usual, well this was great debate indeed, the constitution issues are always interesting to see.
Thank you for the video,
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Wow. Great debate. One sore point for Breyer was his rational for opposing school vouchers. Here he falls into the trap that Scalia warns about.
Breyer basically reasons that the Establishment clause has the purpose to prevent relgious strige. So he says school vouchers would increase religious strife, thus he opposed it.
Yet, this is exactly the trap Scalia warns about. Is Breyer an expert on education? Is he an expert on religion and world affairs? By having the court look at purpose and consequence, you immediately step out of your field and into whatever you decide in your head. Indeed, where is the evidence that school vouchers will increase religious strife? They are there in Chile, Sweden, Alberta... all throughout the world. If you're going to look at consequences, then you need evidence. You would need compelling evidence as well to prevent states from using them. Yet, Breyer doesn't follow his own rules and seek evidence when examining purpose. He just assumes, falling for the very trap Scalia warns about. These are issues that do not belong in the supreme court but should be fought in the democratic realm.
The evolving constitution talk by Breyer seems nice until he gets to explaining specifics. Then I think you begin to see the trap it sets forth.