Court Battles

Justice Breyer issues warning on remaking Supreme Court: ‘What goes around comes around’

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer issued a warning on remaking the Supreme Court, stating “what goes around comes around.”

Breyer made the remark in an interview with NPR published Friday to promote his book “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics.”

“What goes around comes around. And if the Democrats can do it, the Republicans can do it,” Breyer told the news outlet.

Conservatives currently hold a 6-3 majority on the high court, leading to some progressives to call for its expansion.

President Biden signed an executive order in April establishing a commission to study whether to add seats to the Supreme Court, an idea that Biden himself has remained neutral on.

Breyer has previously warned against so-called court-packing.

In remarks for Harvard Law School in April, Breyer warned that changing the court could harm public trust in the institution.

Breyer’s book argues that public acceptance of the high court’s opinions have fortified the rule of law as essential to democracy, according to the news outlet.

In the NPR interview, Breyer pointed to comments former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) made following the 2000 presidential election, when the Supreme Court essentially ruled that George W. Bush won the race.

“He said the most remarkable thing about this case is, even though probably half the country didn’t like it at all, and it was totally wrong, in his opinion and in mine, people followed it, and they didn’t throw brickbats at each other and they didn’t have riots,” Breyer said.

Breyer also said he welcomes the resumption of in-person oral arguments after the court had gone virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think it’s better to be there where you can actually see the lawyer and see your colleagues, and you get more of a human interaction,” he said to NPR.

Tags conservative court court expansion Court packing Harry Reid Joe Biden Stephen Breyer Supermajority Supreme Court
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