Charged with the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution, the nine unelected justices of the Supreme Court have the power to strike down laws enacted by our elected representatives. We assume that when the Court rules, the public will obey.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer declares that we cannot take the public’s confidence in the Court for granted and reminds us that at various moments in our history, the Court’s decisions were ignored. Justice Breyer will be joined by author Jeffrey Rosen and Paul Holdengräber for a conversation about his book Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge's View. Together, they will examine what the Court must do to maintain public confidence and discuss the ten books that shaped Justice Breyer’s intellectual persona.
This program is sponsored by
STEPHEN G. BREYER, Supreme Court Associate Justice
Stephen G. Breyer 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 ofthe 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.
Jeffrey Rosen is a professor of law at George Washington University, the legal affairs editor of The New Republic, and a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. His most recent book is The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America, the bestselling 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. Rosen is a graduate of Harvard College, summa cum laude; Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar; and Yale Law School. His essays and commentaries have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, on National Public Radio, and in The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer. The Chicago Tribune named him one of the ten best magazine journalists in America and the L.A. Times called him “the nation’s most widely read and influential legal commentator.”
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL