Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Holding his head

Stephen Breyer’s retirement announcement made me remember this description from an NPR story:

At oral argument, Justice Elena Kagan, one of the court's best questioners, sometimes takes a different approach [from that of Justice Sonia Sotomayor]. She just shuts down, rather than alienate her colleagues. Still, her anger is often palpable, the color literally draining from her face. And Justice Stephen Breyer on occasion just holds his head.
That description makes me think that he stuck it out as long as he could in an increasingly alienating workplace.

comments: 2

Anonymous said...

I attended a live S. Ct hearing in the mid-2000's. If the case is of high interest - you get taken in to listen for 5 minutes before the next group is circulated in. And no talking!!!

I saw Justice O'Connor in action-- she was fantastic. You could tell by her questions that she totally understood the case and was able to reduce it to a question. Justice Thomas not so much.

For a great story on Justice Breyer, see

Great story about how he was selected.

The question is can they get someone confirmed before the 2022 elections.


Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for your story and for the link, Kirsten. It’s difficult to imagine something like the Clinton-Hatch conversation taking place nowadays.