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Stephen Breyer Quotes

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Stephen Breyer
August 15, 1938 -
Nationality: American
Category: Judge
Subcategory: American Judge

At least there's a political input, but when you put on the robe, at that point the politics is over.


Nobody wants a judge to be subject to the political whim of the moment.


It doesn't help to fight crime to put people in prison who are innocent.


Judges are appointed often through the political process.


To threaten the institution is to threaten fair administration of justice and protection of liberty.


And in that confirmation process, I sat for 17 hours in front of a senate judiciary committee.


We can speak about the institution, but ultimately the bar is the group that both is in touch with the public on the one hand and understands the judicial institution on the other.


We are selected, but I grew up in California and in San Francisco and there was a system of electing judges.


I think it shows that if you have one group of people doing it, you'll get another group of people doing it.


You will read in the newspaper more often about federal courts, but the law that affects people, the trials that affect human beings are by and large in the state courts.


There are loads of countries that have nice written constitutions like ours. But there aren't loads of countries where they're followed.


But once the person is selected, at that point that person is independent.


Well, just that there would be somebody in the office and the voters - it was more or less an understanding in the entire community, as long as that person was doing a good job on the merits, nobody was going to run against him.


Independence doesn't mean you decide the way you want.


And the problem is once you get into this campaign business and begin to have a lot of money, then the person on the bench begins to think - what's going to happen if I decide the case this way or that way?


I mean those people who are interested in good government will certainly contribute in order to make certain there's some counter-balance to those whose interests in good government is less.


Ultimately, the question of campaign contributions will be decided by the public.


You can have many different selection systems, but the bottom line has to be a system that, once the judge takes office that judge will feel that he or she is to decide the case without reference to the popular thing or the popular will of the moment.


It's important to every American that the law protect his or her basic liberty.


People have to be educated and they have to stick to it. If people lose that respect, an awful lot is lost.


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