Introduction to Justice Breyer's Remarks 2005 National Conference on Appellate Justice

Article excerpt

Good morning and welcome again to the 2005 Conference on Appellate Justice. To say that a speaker needs no introduction is not to say that none should be given, for it remains worthwhile to note the special link between the speaker and the occasion. For over a decade, Justice Breyer has graced the Supreme Court with his thoughtful and elegant opinions. At the same time, he continues to produce scholarly writing at a scarcely lesser rate than when he was on the Harvard faculty. His most recent book, Active Liberty, (1) is a powerful argument for his vision of Constitutional interpretation.

To this Conference, Justice Breyer brings in addition the perspective of his years of service on the First Circuit Court of Appeals, including four years as Chief Judge of that court. Our speaker has been, as it were, in the trenches. Nor should it be forgotten that Justice Breyer's principal academic interest was the administrative process.

In a recent article, Justice Breyer brought these perspectives together when he wrote that the Supreme Court must take into account "the practical administrative concerns in constitutional decision-making." (2) The Court's cases, he added, must provide administrative guidance to the lower courts about how to handle a variety of different situations in an effective and efficient manner. …