Retired Justice Issues Stern Warning to Supreme Court

( – Former liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who stepped down in 2022, is warning that the Supreme Court could create a “Constitution that no one wants” if the Justices continue interpreting laws the same way they have been.

In an interview published on March 26th by POLITICO Magazine, Breyer discussed his new book, “Reading the Constitution: Why I Chose Pragmatism, Not Textualism.”

In the book, he discusses how interpreting the law through originalism, which focuses on the writers’ original intent, and textualism, which focuses on the writers’ original words, could cause problems, noting its use in landmark rulings such as overturning Roe v. Wade. Breyer stated that using these methods is also problematic since when the Constitution was written everyone was not “represented in the political process that led to the document.”

Popular among conservatives, who hold the majority on the Supreme Court, Breyer said using originalism to interpret law is problematic because it is not flexible, and the world has changed. Breyer said using originalism does not allow for “modern solutions to modern problems.”

Breyer talked about how he used to argue with the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who used originalism to interpret the law, about how originalism is “inherently regressive” and would be unpopular among modern Americans.

Though he does not directly say their names in the book, he appears to call on the three new Supreme Court Justices appointed by former President Donald Trump, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett, to reconsider their approach to interpreting the law.

During the interview, Breyer also said he supports an age limit for Supreme Court justices, saying, “I don’t think that’s harmful.”

This is not the first time Breyer has mentioned originalism. During an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Breyer said that, over time, this interpretation of the Constitution moves interpreting statutes “away from the direction of trying to help people.”

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