Aug 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Breyer and Gorsuch to co-chair group promoting constitutional education

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer speaks during an event at the Library of Congress for the 2022 Supreme Court Fellows Program hosted by the Law Library of Congress on February 17, 2022
Then-Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer speaks during an event at the Library of Congress on February 17. Photo: Evan Vucci-Pool/Getty Images

Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is joining Justice Neil Gorsuch as an honorary co-chair of the nonpartisan National Constitution Center.

Why it matters: The announcement, which the group made Thursday, comes at a time of intense political polarization and as Americans' confidence in the Supreme Court has cratered.

Driving the news: "Justice Breyer is an inspiring champion for civic education, and he has devoted his career to educating Americans of all ages about the constitutional principles that unite us," said Jeffrey Rosen, the center’s president and CEO, in a statement.

  • "In this polarized time, all of us at the National Constitution Center are thrilled to have Justice Breyer and Justice Gorsuch providing leadership as we fulfill our mission to serve as America’s leading platform for nonpartisan constitutional education and civil dialogue."
  • Gorsuch, who was nominated to the high court by former President Trump, has been an honorary chairman of the group since 2019.

The big picture: Breyer, who was considered one of the court's liberal-leaning justices, made his first public appearance this week since his retirement, saying, "America's a system that has adjusted — with its drawbacks and its going-the-wrong way from time to time ... overall, I'm still an optimist."

  • Breyer officially retired from the high court at the end of June and he was replaced by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
  • Previous chairs of the center include President Biden, former President Bill Clinton (D) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).

What he's saying: "Justice Breyer and I share a commitment to inspiring Americans to learn about the U.S. Constitution," Gorsuch said in a statement.

  • "I look forward to working together with the National Constitution Center to champion civic education in the years ahead."

Go deeper... Stephen Breyer says America goes the wrong way "from time to time"

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