Posted by on September 23, 2022 12:30 pm
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Breyer says he hated Dobbs decision, did ‘everything I could to persuade people’

United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer speaks to an audience at the French Cultural Center, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Boston, during a forum called From the Bench to the Sketchbook. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Breyer says he hated Dobbs decision, did ‘everything I could to persuade people’

Kaelan Deese September 23, 12:12 PMSeptember 23, 12:13 PM Video Embed

Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said he hated the summer opinion that overturned nearly 50 years of abortion precedent under Roe v. Wade, admitting that he tried to persuade other justices to change their decisions.

“Was I happy about it? Not for an instant. Did I do everything I could to persuade people? Of course, of course,” he told CNN’s Chris Wallace of the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which allowed states to impose severe limitations or restrict abortion access.

Breyer was one of three Democratic-appointed justices who voted against the six Republican-appointed majority members of the high court to retain the precedent established under Roe.

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The outcome of the Dobbs decision was long anticipated after a draft of the opinion leaked to the press on May 2, prompting droves of protesters to descend on the Supreme Court on the night of the leak and for weeks to come until the final ruling came down on June 24.

“It was very damaging because that kind of thing just doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t happen,” Breyer said of the leak.

Other justices have rebuked the draft opinion leak, including Justice Elena Kagan, who spoke at an event earlier this month and called the leak “horrible.” Both Kagan and Justice Neil Gorsuch have hinted recently that a report over the investigation into the consequential leak could come in a matter of weeks.

The former justice said the court, which is well known for its collegiality among its members, has changed since the leak, referencing the “pleasant” chats that typically happened after weighing cases as one instance of a tonality shift.

“Maybe a little less jolly, but not I mean — I have not heard people in that conference room scream at each other in anger,” Breyer said.

The retired 84-year-old justice, who served on the bench for 28 years after his appointment under President Bill Clinton’s administration, also warned that writing opinions “too rigidly” can “bite you in the back.”

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“You start writing too rigidly and you will see, the world will come around and bite you in the back,” the former justice said.

President Joe Biden nominated Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to succeed Breyer, and she will begin her first term on the high court when it resumes in early October.

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