Sep 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Breyer: "Very, very, very sorry" about Dobbs decision

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
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer speaks during an event at the Library of Congress on Feb. 17. Photo: Evan Vucci-Pool/Getty Images

Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, in his first televised interview since retiring from the bench in June, lamented the court's reversal of Roe v. Wade, saying he is "very, very, very sorry" about it.

Driving the news: "Was I happy about it? Not for an instant. Did I do everything I could to persuade people? Of course, of course," Breyer told CNN's Chris Wallace of the court's Dobbs decision.

  • "But there we are and now we go on. We try to work together," he said.
  • Breyer, who recalled his position in the court's minority liberal bloc as a "very frustrating" spot to be in, also condemned the leak of the draft opinion as "very damaging."
  • "It was very damaging because that kind of thing just doesn't happen. It just doesn't happen. And there we are," he said.

The big picture: Breyer also warned justices against "writing [opinions] too rigidly."

  • "You start writing too rigidly and you will see, the world will come around and bite you in the back," Breyer said.
  • "Because you will find something you see just doesn't work at all. And the Supreme Court, somewhat to the difference of others, has that kind of problem in spades."

What to watch: His remarks come days before the Supreme Court is set to begin its next term.

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