Tributes to Retired U.S. Supreme Justice Stephen G. Breyer

Upon his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court on June 30, 2022. Justice Breyer will be receiving a number of awards including the following for his distinguished service while on the Court:

The American Bar Association (ABA) has announced that it will be  honoring  the Honorable Stephen G. Breyer its 2022 Medal, the Association’s highest honor at the ABA’s Annual Meeting in August 2022. The ABA announcement highlights Justice Breyer’s extraordinary career, his efforts to defend the rule of law, his commitment to judicial independence, and his long involvement with the Association. It also mentions that “[Breyer] has written more than 525 Opinions  as a Supreme Court Justice…”.

Justice Breyer will also be receiving the 2022  Thomas Jefferson Medal in Law. This Award is sponsored jointly by the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals are awarded each year to recognize the achievements of those who embrace endeavors in which Jefferson — author of the Declaration of Independence, third U.S. president and founder of the University of Virginia-excelled and held in high regard”.

The Jewish Council of Public Affairs (JCPA) has announced that Justice Breyer has been the recipient of its highest honor, the Albert D Chernin Award. This Award was given virtually at the JCPA Annual Conference on April 11, 2022.  The award is given annually “to an American Jew whose work best exemplifies the social justice imperatives of Judaism, Jewish history, and the protection of the U.S. Bill of Rights”.

Justice Breyer’s path to the U.S. Supreme Court included a variety of academic, political, and judicial experiences.  After graduating from Harvard law school, Breyer taught law at Harvard and he also served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. In 1980 President Carter appointed Breyer to the First Circuit Court of Appeals where he served as Chief Justice from 1990 until his U.S. Supreme Court confirmation in 1994.

While serving at the U.S. Supreme Court, Breyer gained a reputation as a careful and pragmatic jurist. He was often referred to as “the most pragmatic of justices on the bench. His decisions were often guided by maneuvering around the real life consequences to the people affected by the decisions”.

The ABA Award announcement mentions that ‘[Breyer] has written more than 525 opinions as a Supreme Court justice”.  For those interested in exploring Justice Breyer’s writings, the Legal Information Institute (LII) of Cornell law school has compiled an excellent list of his writings, grouped by type, in alphabetical order by first party name available on its website.





















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