Federal Courts and Nominations

RELEASE: CAC Celebrates the Legacy of Justice Breyer

“We urge President Biden to nominate as Justice Breyer’s successor a justice who will honor and extend Justice Breyer’s legacy of fidelity to the Constitution and its arc of progress, and look forward to the fulfillment of his promise to nominate the first Black woman in our nation’s history to serve on the Court.” — CAC President Elizabeth Wydra

WASHINGTON – On Justice Stephen Breyer’s announcement that he will retire from the U.S. Supreme Court, Constitutional Accountability Center issued the following statement:

“We are indebted to Justice Breyer for his decades of service to the Supreme Court, the Constitution and laws of the United States,” said CAC President Elizabeth Wydra. “His service to the Constitution led him to uphold the equal citizenship of women, sharply question the constitutionality of capital punishment, reaffirm the fundamental right to vote, defend the constitutionality of affirmative action, and underscore the power of the federal government to protect our environment. Even though others on the Court would more readily embrace the label of originalist, Justice Breyer frequently and powerfully rooted his defense of fundamental rights in the text and history of the Constitution.

“We urge President Biden to nominate as Justice Breyer’s successor a justice who will honor and extend Justice Breyer’s legacy of fidelity to the Constitution and its arc of progress, and look forward to the fulfillment of his promise to nominate the first Black woman in our nation’s history to serve on the Court.”

CAC Chief Counsel Brianne Gorodwho clerked for Justice Breyer—continued, “Justice Breyer’s legacy will be defined in large part by his broad ideas about our system of government. He is a pragmatist who believes deeply that our Constitution and our government should work for the American people, and those beliefs in turn have shaped the way he thinks about the role of the courts in our system of government.

“Because he thinks the law should work for people, Justice Breyer cares deeply about the real-world context in which the Court is operating, as well as the consequences of the Court’s decisions. Those concerns are clearly evident in many of the opinions he has written over the years in cases ranging from reproductive rights to school desegregation to the scope of congressional power.

“While he was frequently in dissent over the course of his time on the Court, he always remained optimistic, confident that in the end our government will work, and the courts will play an important role in making that happen. That optimism and confidence will also be an important part of his legacy.”

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Resources:

CAC’s Federal Courts and Nominations page: https://www.theusconstitution.org/issues/federal-courts-nominations/

“Recent Attacks on Voting Rights Underscore the Need for a Black Woman Supreme Court Justice,” Kristine Kippins, Washington Informer, April 14, 2021: https://www.washingtoninformer.com/kippins-recent-attacks-on-voting-rights-underscore-the-need-for-a-black-woman-supreme-court-justice/

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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