Breyer: Supreme Court 'fallible,' but has served US 'pretty well'

Breyer: Supreme Court 'fallible,' but has served US 'pretty well'
© New York Times/Pool

Supreme Court Justice Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerBreyer: Supreme Court 'fallible,' but has served US 'pretty well' Supreme Court considers Kentucky AG's power to defend abortion restriction Justice Alito's heresy MORE says the high court is “fallible,” but has served the United States “pretty well,” as he faces continued calls from the left to resign, and his conservative counterparts defend their majority against claims of politicization. 

“It's an institution that's fallible, though over time it has served this country pretty well,” Breyer told CNN in an interview on Wednesday.

“As Mother used to say: every race, every religion, every point of view possible is held by people in this country,” he continued. “And it's helped them to live together."

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Breyer’s interview comes during a broader debate over Supreme Court reform amid the high court’s 6-3 conservative majority.

President BidenJoe BidenJill Biden campaigns for McAuliffe in Virginia Fill the Eastern District of Virginia  Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted MORE established a 36-member commission in April tasked with studying reforms to the high court, including adding more seats. 

Aside from more seats, Breyer has been under pressure from liberals to retire so that Biden can appoint a younger, liberal justice to replace him while Democrats have control in the Senate.

The 83-year-old justice has largely been tight-lipped about retirement but has said he doesn’t plan to “stay there till I die.”

Breyer told CNN that the controversy surrounding the court is nothing new.

“It's always been controversial,” Breyer told the outlet. However, he said people have accepted the court’s decisions, even those “that they think are really wrong" adding, "If they don't, we won't have a rule of law."

Breyer has been critical of proposals to remake the Supreme Court. For example, he told NPR in an interview in September “what goes around comes around.”

A number of justices have recently joined the public debate over the political leanings of the court, particularly around lightning rod issues like abortion and gun control. 

Conservative Justice Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle Sen. Whitehouse blasts Alito speech: 'You have fouled your nest, not us' Breyer: Supreme Court 'fallible,' but has served US 'pretty well' MORE delivered a fiery speech two weeks ago defending the court's "shadow docket," and accused the media of depicting it as “a dangerous cabal is deciding important issues in a novel, secretive, improper way in the middle of the night, hidden from public view.” 

Prominent members of the media and Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle Sen. Whitehouse blasts Alito speech: 'You have fouled your nest, not us' Breyer: Supreme Court 'fallible,' but has served US 'pretty well' MORE (D-R.I.) have fired back at Alito over the speech. Whitehouse penned an article Thursday alleging that dark money shaped the current Supreme Court. 

"Perhaps Justice Alito is so touchy because his fingerprints are all over this pattern of Republican judicial activism," he wrote in Salon