Senate Confirms Breyer to Supreme Court on 87-9 Vote

Article excerpt

The Senate overwhelmingly approved Stephen Breyer's Supreme Court nomination Friday, giving President Bill Clinton his second easy confirmation of a judicial centrist to the court.

Breyer won confirmation by an 87-9 vote, despite a campaign against him by Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind. Lugar charged that Breyer's investment in a troubled Lloyd's of London syndicate suggested "extraordinarily bad judgment" and threatened financial entanglements that could compromise his work on the court. All four senators from Missouri and Illinois backed Breyer.

All Democrats and 33 Republicans voted for Breyer, with most of the opposition coming from GOP conservatives who joined the more moderate Lugar in questioning Breyer's investments but appeared especially concerned about his views on property rights and abortion.

Breyer, 55, a former Senate aide who is now chief judge of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, replaces retiring Justice Harry A. Blackmun and becomes the nation's 108th justice.

At the White House after the confirmation vote was taken, Clinton introduced Breyer at a previously scheduled Boys Nation ceremony. "This gentleman has set an example of excellence and fidelity to the law and the Constitution of which every American can be proud," Clinton said.

Breyer, grinning broadly, told Clinton, "Thank you for the confidence you have placed in me. I look forward to serving on the Supreme Court. The responsibility of that position is awesome, rather humbling." He added, "The goal of that job is the same as for all of us who work in the law . …

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