Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to Discuss “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics”
Press Release · Monday, November 29, 2021

Washington, DC

On Thursday, December 9, at 7 p.m. ET, the National Archives in partnership with the Concord Museum will present Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer discussing his recently published book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics. Following the conversation with Justice Breyer, a panel of experts will respond and debate the central argument in his new text and other challenges facing the nation and the Court. 

Register to attend (virtually). Watch the free program livestreamed on the National Archives YouTube channel.

BOOK TALK & PANEL DISCUSSION: The Supreme Court and the Peril of Politics
Thursday, December 9 at 7 p.m., ET

In his new book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer draws upon his 27 years on the Court, to suggest that the judiciary’s hard-won authority could be marred by current attempts to reform. If public trust in the Supreme Court is now in decline, he argues, one part of the solution is to promote better understandings of how the judiciary actually works: how judges adhere to their oaths and how they try to avoid considerations of politics and popularity. This virtual forum will feature a prerecorded one-on-one conversation with Justice Breyer about his new book followed by a live conversation (with Q&A from the virtual audience) moderated by Tom Putnam, Edward W. Kane Executive Director of the Concord Museum, with four experts including: 

  • Nancy Gertner, Harvard Law School instructor, former federal judge, and member of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court;
  • Jamal Greene, Columbia Law School professor;
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor, Slate, and contributing editor, Newsweek;
  • Kimberly Atkins Stohr, senior opinion writer and columnist, Boston Globe.

Stephen Breyer, born in San Francisco in 1938, is a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a graduate of Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard Law School. He taught law for many years as a professor at Harvard Law School and at the Kennedy School of Government. He has also worked as a Supreme Court law clerk (for Justice Arthur Goldberg), a Justice Department lawyer (antitrust division), an Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor, and Chief Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee (working closely with Senator Edward M. Kennedy to pass the Airline Deregulation Act). In 1980 he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by President Carter, becoming Chief Judge in 1990. In 1994 he was appointed a Supreme Court Justice by President Clinton. He has written books and articles about administrative law, economic regulation, and constitutional law, including Regulation and Its Reform, Breaking the Vicious Circle: Toward Effective Risk Regulation, Active Liberty, Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View, The Court and the World, and The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics, which was recently published. His wife, Joanna, was born in Great Britain and is a retired clinical psychologist. They have three children (Chloe, Nell, and Michael) and six grandchildren.


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This page was last reviewed on November 29, 2021.
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