Stephen Breyer will be decorated by Emmanuel Macron. This former justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, where he sat for 28 years, retired in June at the age of 84.
Stephen Breyer, former justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, will be decorated by Emmanuel Macron. He was the dean of the Supreme Court, before his retirement last June at the age of 84.
Considered a progressive judge, representative of the left wing of this institution, the temple of law which founds American democracy, he sat for 28 years and had to defend his convictions with fervor and passion.
He has always been opposed to the death penalty, a position not always evident in the United States. Other fights dear to him, the environment, the right to homosexual marriage or the right to abortion.
He was known for his jovial air, his passion for debate, his wit, his great culture. He is also capable of surprising. In California, in 2005, a law prohibits the sale of video games considered violent to minors. A few years later, the Supreme Court invalidated this law, in the name of the sacrosanct freedom of expression. He is one of only two Supreme Court justices to disagree and vote to keep the law.
Friend of Robert Badinter
Stephen Breyer had a prestigious academic career, collecting diplomas from prestigious universities, Stanford, Oxford, Harvard. He was a teacher, and adviser to the prosecutor in the Watergate scandal. He was said to always carry a thin annotated copy of the US Constitution in the inside pocket of his jacket. It’s hard to be more passionate.
Stephen Breyer has ties with France. He speaks fluent French. He is undoubtedly the most Francophile of American judges. He regularly slipped references to Proust or Stendhal into his speeches. He likes George Simenon and Arsène Lupin, whom he reads in the text.
He counts among his friends the former Keeper of the Seals, Robert Badinter, who sees in him “the best that American culture and justice can produce”.
He is also a universalist, who believes that we can change the law of countries by using the case law of other countries. He was formally replaced last month by progressive Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who became the first black female judge to serve on the United States Supreme Court.