Jan 29, 2022
Contact: Toni Valenti
New York County Lawyers Association Issues Statement
on Justice Stephen Breyer’s Retirement.
NYCLA salutes the career of Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced that he will retire from the bench at the end of the Supreme Court’s term. Justice Breyer has had a long and distinguished career, serving for 14 years on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit before being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1994. On the Court, Justice Breyer developed a reputation as a principled jurist who probed issues deeply, asking hypothetical questions that challenged lawyers to explain the implications of their arguments. He also worked to build coalitions, even in difficult cases. Last year, for instance, Justice Breyer authored the majority opinion in California v. Texas, in which the Court upheld the Affordable Care Act by a 7-2 vote.
Justice Breyer also wrote a number of opinions in closely divided cases: for instance, the plurality opinion in June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo, a 2020 decision that invalidated a Louisiana abortion restriction, and the majority opinion in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, which upheld the state’s refusal to issue a license plate bearing the image of a Confederate flag. In addition, Justice Breyer penned notable dissents in cases involving, among other things, partisan gerrymandering, the death penalty, and the Florida recount in the 2000 Presidential election. Further, Justice Breyer’s book, Active Liberty, is widely recognized as a seminal work on constitutional interpretation.
We thank Justice Breyer for his long service to the Court and to our country. His work and career embody NYCLA’s core values of inclusivity and a commitment to the rule of law — values that are critically important in these trying times.
About the New York County Lawyers Association
The New York County Lawyers Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as one of the first major bar associations in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.