SCOTUS' Breyer: I Still Have Hope

America has always had ups and downs, former Supreme Court justice says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2022 1:30 AM CDT
Updated Aug 8, 2022 6:55 AM CDT
Stephen Breyer Explains Why He Still Has Hope
President Biden listens as Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer announces his retirement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Jan. 27, 2022.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(Newser) – In his first appearance since retiring from the Supreme Court, former justice Stephen Breyer says that even though America occasionally makes missteps, he still has faith in the country's future. "America's a system that has adjusted—with its drawbacks and its going-the-wrong way from time to time ... overall, I'm still an optimist," Breyer said, per CNN. In a speech to the American Bar Association conference in Chicago, Breyer recalled once telling a judge from outside the US, "This has not been a country of sheer ups, you know. ... There was a civil war, there was slavery, 80 years of Jim Crow segregation. But gradually we try ... if this generation doesn't, the next one might."

He also discussed the Bush v. Gore presidential election, which was decided by the Supreme Court, and recalled Harry Reid saying at the time, "Maybe you know you have the rule of law 'when enough people are prepared to accept an opinion that affects them personally that they don't like.'" Breyer did not, however, mention any of the Supreme Court's recent controversial rulings, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade, nor did he mention the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. Breyer has returned to teach at Harvard University, the university's law school recently announced. He was awarded the ABA Medal, the association's highest honor, during the annual meeting at which he spoke. (Read more Stephen Breyer stories.)

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