Join Justice Stephen Breyer, Jeffrey Rosen of The Atlantic and LIVE from NYPL curator Paul Holdengraber for a look into the vital relationship between the U.S. Supreme Court and the American public.
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.
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL.
Jeffrey Rosen is a professor of law at George Washington University and the legal affairs editor of The New Republic. A widely read legal commentator, his most recent book is The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America, a companion book to the PBS series on the Supreme Court.
He is also the author of The Most Democratic Branch, The Naked Crowd, and The Unwanted Gaze.
A graduate of Harvard College, Oxford University, and Yale Law School, he has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, and his essays and commentaries have appeared in the New York Times Magazine and The Atlantic, as well as on National Public Radio.
(born Aug. 15, 1938, San Francisco, Calif., U.S.) U.S. jurist. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1964. After clerking for Arthur Goldberg (196465), he taught at Harvard (196781). He served as special counsel (197475) and chief counsel (197981) of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee before being appointed to the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (1980); he became its chief judge in 1990. From 1985 to 1989 he served on the commission that devised guidelines for federal sentencing. He was nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1994 by Pres. Bill Clinton. He was known as a pragmatic moderate acceptable to both Republicans and Democrats.
Final court of appeal in the U.S. judicial system and final interpreter of the Constitution of the United States. The Supreme Court was created by the Constitutional Convention of 1787 as the head of a federal court system, though it was not formally established until Congress passed the Judiciary Act in 1789. It was granted authority to act in cases arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the U.S.; in controversies to which the U.S. is a party; in controversies between states or between citizens of different states; in cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; and in cases affecting ambassadors or other ministers or consuls. Its size, which is set by Congress, varied between 6 and 10 members before being set at 9 in 1869. Justices are appointed by the president but must be confirmed by the Senate. The court has exercised the power of judicial review since 1803, when it first declared part of a law unconstitutional in Marbury v. Madison, though the power is not explicitly granted to it by the Constitution. Though the court can sometimes serve as a trial court through its original jurisdiction, relatively few cases reach the court in this manner; most cases arise by appeal or by certiorari. Among the most important doctrinal sources used by the Supreme Court have been the commerce, due-process, and equal-protection clauses of the Constitution. It also has often ruled on controversies involving civil liberties (seecivil liberty), including freedom of speech and the right of privacy. Much of its work consists of clarifying, refining, and testing the Constitution's philosophic ideals and translating them into working principles.