President Joe Biden joined Justice Stephen Breyer for a joint announcement about the justice’s imminent retirement, and Breyer offered a statement denoting his faith that the “American experiment” would continue to succeed under the next generation.
Biden first announced his plan to follow through on his campaign promise to nominate the first black woman to a seat on the highest court, adding that he hoped to have a name in the coming weeks.
Immediately afterward, he introduced Breyer, praising his record on the bench.
“Thank you, Mr. President. That is terribly nice. Believe me, I hold it right here here,” Breyer began, placing his hand over his heart. “It’s wonderful.”
“I thought about what I might say to you and something I enjoy is talking to a high school students and grammar school students, college students and even law school students. They will come around and ask me, what does is it that you find particularly meaningful about your job and what gives you a thrill? That’s not such a tough question for me to answer,” Breyer continued, noting that after hearing so many cases, the one thing that was always clear was that the United States of America is a “complicated country.”
“And it’s every race, every religion and she would emphasize this, and it’s every point of view possible. It’s a kind of miracle when you sort of see all those people in front of you and yet they have decided to help solve their major differences under law,” Breyer continued, pulling out a pocket Constitution. “The people that have come to accept this Constitution, they come to accept the importance of the rule of law.”
Breyer went on to say that the important thing to remember about the rule of law in America is that it has always been an experiment — a point that was carefully detailed in Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which Breyer said his wife had paid their grandchildren to memorize.