A Conversation with Justice Stephen G. Breyer: The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics

On this episode of Reasonably Speaking, ALI President David F. Levi is joined by Supreme Court of the United States Associate Justice, Stephen G. Breyer to discuss his book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics.

From the book’s Author’s Note:

I had originally prepared the following as remarks for a presentation in France. The topic was to be “The Supreme Court: Power and Counter-Power.” Because of the difficulties of traveling to France, I decided to use these remarks as the basis for the 2021 Scalia Lecture at Harvard Law School and then to publish the resulting lecture in edited form. I believe this essay, reflecting in part my own experience, is relevant to recent disagreements over the nature and future of the Court. There are different, often competing, views about the Court’s proper role. And in recent months, the topic has often been discussed more intensely. Here I seek, in simplified form and through examples, to show how I believe the Court obtained power, the nature of that power, and some of the challenges now facing the Court. I also make several general suggestions about what the Court and the country might do to minimize the risks associated with those challenges. They are general suggestions; they do not purport to provide specific solutions to the problems that the judiciary faces.



This podcast is jointly produced by the Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School and The American Law Institute. A full transcript of the recording will be made available when the episode is released. 


The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics by Stephen G. Breyer

Harvard University Press (September 14, 2021)