A Conversation with Justice Stephen G. Breyer: The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics

On this episode of Reasonably Speaking, ALI President David F. Levi is joined by Supreme Court of the United States Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer to discuss his book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics.

From the book’s Author’s Note:

I had originally prepared the following as remarks for a presentation in France. The topic was to be “The Supreme Court: Power and Counter-Power.” Because of the difficulties of traveling to France, I decided to use these remarks as the basis for the 2021 Scalia Lecture at Harvard Law School and then to publish the resulting lecture in edited form. I believe this essay, reflecting in part my own experience, is relevant to recent disagreements over the nature and future of the Court. There are different, often competing, views about the Court’s proper role. And in recent months, the topic has often been discussed more intensely. Here I seek, in simplified form and through examples, to show how I believe the Court obtained power, the nature of that power, and some of the challenges now facing the Court. I also make several general suggestions about what the Court and the country might do to minimize the risks associated with those challenges. They are general suggestions; they do not purport to provide specific solutions to the problems that the judiciary faces.

This episode was produced jointly by The American Law Institute and the Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke Law School. To listen to the podcast version of this episode, visit http://www.ali.org/podcast. The full episode transcript is available here. Please excuse typos due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

The views and opinions expressed on this episode are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of The American Law Institute or the speakers’ organizations. The content presented in this broadcast is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Please be advised that episodes explore complex and often sensitive legal topics and may contain mature content.


Published: 2022


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