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Justice Breyer on why its important for the Supreme Court Justices to attend the State of the Union

Sam Stein over at The Huffington Post reports:

Justice Stephen Breyer, in a rare television interview, said that he would attend the president’s upcoming State of the Union address, and those thereafter. As for why, however, the reasoning was a bit surprising. It is important, Breyer explained, that in a visual society, people see that judges play a role in process of governance.”My job … is to write opinions,” Breyer told “Fox News Sunday.” “The job of 307 million Americans is to criticize those opinions. And what they say is up to them. And the words I write are carrying out my job under the law as best I see it. That’s true of my colleagues too.

“Going to the State of the Union, I will go next year. I have gone every year. I think it is very, very, very, important, very important for us to show up at that State of the Union because people today, as you know, are more and more visual … and what they see in front of them at that State of the Union is the federal government, every part, the president, the Congress, the cabinet, the military, and I would like them to see the judges too, because federal judges are also part of that government.”

Makes sense to me. And given the critical role that the Judiciary has played lately, I think it’s good for everyone to see them.

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Welcome! Who am I?



Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.