WASHINGTON (AP) — Recently retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has develop into the honorary co-chairman of a nonpartisan group dedicated to education concerning the Structure, joining Justice Neil Gorsuch at a time of intense political polarization and rising skepticism concerning the court’s independence.
The National Structure Center in Philadelphia said Thursday that Breyer and Gorsuch, who has served since 2019, might be spokesmen for civics education and civility in politics.
The justices’ decision to work together “is particularly meaningful on this polarized time,” Jeffrey Rosen, the middle’s president and CEO, said.
The 84-year-old Breyer retired at the top of June after nearly 28 years as a justice. His seat was taken by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the high court’s first Black woman.
Then-Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer speaks during an event on the Library of Congress for the 2022 Supreme Court Fellows Program hosted by the Law Library of Congress, Feb. 17, 2022, in Washington.
Evan Vucci/Pool via Associated Press
Breyer has been a relentless voice for seeing the court as something aside from “politicians in robes” whilst the court has issued a string of conservative-driven decisions topped by eliminating the constitutional right to abortion and overturning Roe v. Wade.
In recent months, the court with six Republican-appointed conservatives and three liberals appointed by Democrats also has expanded gun rights, weakened the separation of church and state and constrained the Biden administration’s efforts to combat climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.
Gorsuch was in the vast majority of all those cases and Breyer, in dissent.
Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch stands during a gaggle photo on the Supreme Court in Washington, April 23, 2021.
Erin Schaff/The Latest York Times via Associated Press
Challenges to affirmative motion in education and key election-related cases highlight the term that begins in October and appear prone to produce more sharp splits along ideological lines.
“Despite the strong disagreements on the court, Justices Breyer and Gorsuch, like all their colleagues, unite around a shared belief that civics are obligatory for the long run of the republic,” Rosen said.
Recent public opinions surveys have shown a pointy drop in approval of the court and its role as an establishment that’s above the political fray.
Still, Breyer said last week at a lawyers’ convention in Chicago that he stays optimistic concerning the American legal system.
In a press release, he said, “The nonpartisan work of the National Structure Center is important, and I stay up for working with Justice Gorsuch to advertise civil dialogue and debate.”
Breyer also will return to teaching at Harvard Law School.
Past center chairmen have included President Joe Biden, who resigned when he launched his presidential campaign in 2019, and former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.
The middle’s home in Philadelphia is near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Structure was drafted.