National News

Stephen Breyer Fast Facts

Posted February 19, 2013

Here is a look at the life of Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Personal: Birth date: August 15, 1938

Birth place: San Francisco, California

Birth name: Stephen Gerald Breyer

Father: Irving Breyer, an attorney

Mother: Anne (Roberts) Breyer

Marriage: Joanna (Hare) Breyer (September 4, 1967-present)

Children: Chloe, Nell and Michael

Education: Stanford University, A.B., 1959; Oxford University (Marshall Scholar), B.A., 1961; Harvard Law School, LL.B., 1964, magna cum laude

Religion: Jewish

Other Facts: Nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Former assistant prosecutor during the Watergate hearings in the 1970s.

Timeline: 1964-1965 - Law clerk for Justice Arthur Goldberg, US Supreme Court.

1965-1967 - Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General at the US Department of Justice.

1967-1994 - Holds various positions at Harvard University Law School, including professor and lecturer.

1974-1975 - Special Counsel for the US Senate Judiciary Committee.

1977-1980 - Professor of Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

1979-1980 - Chief Counsel for the US Senate Judiciary Committee.

1981-1990 - Serves as a judge for the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

1985-1989 - Member of the US Sentencing Commission.

1990-1994 - Serves as the Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

August 3, 1994 - Sworn in to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton, filling the seat held by former Justice Harry Blackmun.

June 2004 - Named by Chief Justice William Rehnquist to lead a panel of justices to consider ways to police members of the federal judiciary while allowing them to maintain their traditional level of independence.

October 30, 2008 - Fordham University Law School - a Jesuit school - gives an award to Breyer, causing some controversy due to his pro-abortion stance.

September 2010 - His book, "Making Our Democracy Work," is published.

February 9, 2012 - While vacationing on the Caribbean island of Nevis, Breyer is robbed by an intruder armed with a machete. No one is hurt in the incident.

April 26, 2013 - Injures his right shoulder in a fall from his bicycle. The injury requires reverse shoulder replacement surgery the following day.

June 29, 2015 - In the case Glossip v. Gross, Breyer raises the question of whether the death penalty is unconstitutional in a 40-page minority dissenting opinion, which Ruth Bader Ginsburg joins. The judges vote 5-4 to uphold the use of a controversial drug for lethal injection in executions.

May 23, 2016 - During a public appearance, Breyer says he does not feel the Supreme Court is diminished without an immediate fill-in for Justice Antonin Scalia, who died earlier in the year, and having a possible 4-4 vote split would only make an impact in a few of the 70 to 80 cases they hear each year.

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