The pragmatic consequentialism of Justice Stephen Breyer

The pragmatic consequentialism of Justice Stephen Breyer

Commentary U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer and Chief Justice John Roberts await the arrival of U.S. President Donald J. Trump in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives Jan. 30, 2018 in Washington, D.C. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second address to a joint meeting of Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Justice Stephen Breyer’s announcement of his intention to retire at the end of the Supreme Court’s current term provides occasion to contrast his approach to judging with the very different approach of the court majority he leaves behind. The contrast is frequently explained in partisan terms: Justice Breyer is a “liberal” who was appointed by a Democratic president (Bill Clinton), whereas the majority is “conservative,” having been appointed by three different Republican presidents (George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump). The use of partisan labels to describe the different approaches to judging employed by the court’s two principal voting blocs is both understandable and fair, given the highly politicized nature of the Supreme Court confirmation process; the rhetoric used by President Trump (who frequently made sneering references to “Obama judges”); and the party-line outcomes that characterize many of the court’s recent, high-profile cases. Yet, partisan descriptors can obscure more than they clarify. I am going to reflect on the difference between Justice Breyer’s philosophy and that of the court’s majority in jurisprudential rather than partisan terms. Justice […]

Click here to view original web page at The pragmatic consequentialism of Justice Stephen Breyer

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.