Former Justice Stephen Breyer Says He Urged Colleagues Not to Reverse Roe v. Wade

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Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said successful a televised interrogation that helium pushed his colleagues connected the tribunal to alteration their votes and not overturn Roe v. Wade, the seminal 1973 precedent that legalized abortion in the United States, a ruling that successful the extremity they voted to reverse.

Breyer, 84, was referring to the determination successful Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, successful which the Supreme Court voted 6-3 connected June 24 to uphold a Mississippi instrumentality that bans termination aft 15 weeks of pregnancy. The tribunal besides voted 5-4 to overturn Roe, returning the regularisation of termination to the states.

Days aft the decision, Breyer was replaced connected the tribunal by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was sworn successful June 30 aft being confirmed by the Senate connected April 7. Breyer, who was nominated by then-President Bill Clinton, took his spot connected the tribunal connected Aug. 3, 1994.

The comments came successful an interrogation with Chris Wallace connected “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” which debuted Sept. 23 connected HBOMax and airs Sept. 25 connected CNN. The comments besides came arsenic the Supreme Court prepared to statesman its caller word with oral arguments connected Oct. 3.

“You had a atrocious last year. Some of the astir important cases connected the court—abortion, guns, the powerfulness of the EPA to modulate the climate—you were connected the losing side. Was that frustrating for you to suffer important lawsuit aft important case?” Wallace said.

“Yes,” Breyer replied.

“But however frustrating?” Wallace said.

“Very frustrating,” the erstwhile justness said.

“When the tribunal undoes a close that radical person lived with for fractional a century, doesn’t that precise overmuch shingle the authorization of the court?” Wallace said.

“Did I similar this Dobbs decision?” Breyer said.

“Of people I didn’t. Of people I didn’t. Was I blessed astir it? Not for an instant. Did I bash everything I could to transportation people? Of course, of course. But determination we are. And present we spell on. And we effort to enactment together. I mean, it’s a small corny what I think, but I bash deliberation it.”

In Dobbs, the 3 wide justices—Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan—felt powerfully capable astir the lawsuit that they took the antithetic measurement of issuing a three-way associated dissent.

According to the wide justices, the tribunal majority’s sentiment states that “from the precise infinitesimal of fertilization, a pistillate has nary rights to talk of. A authorities tin unit her to bring a gestation to term, adjacent astatine the steepest idiosyncratic and familial costs.”

In the CNN interview, Breyer besides condemned the unprecedented leak of an aboriginal draught bulk sentiment successful Dobbs. Politico published the draught papers dated Feb. 10 connected May 2 without disclosing its source.

Court staffers are investigating the leak but it is unclear what they person discovered. Kagan called the leak “horrible” earlier this month. She besides said an update connected the probe is expected by month’s end, arsenic The Epoch Times reported.

Breyer antecedently called the breach of tribunal protocol “very damaging.”

Wallace asked Breyer successful the interrogation if the leak caused “an earthquake wrong the court.”

“It was precise damaging due to the fact that that benignant of happening conscionable doesn’t happen,” Breyer said. “It conscionable doesn’t happen. And determination we are.”

Breyer said aft the leak determination was a little collegial ambiance connected the court.

“Maybe a small little jolly, but not I mean—I person not heard radical successful that league country shriek astatine each different successful anger,” the erstwhile justness said.

Matthew Vadum


Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative writer and a recognized adept successful left-wing activism.