Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer spoke about “The Court and the World” at the 2016 Brennan Center Jorde Symposium on February 17, 2016. Justice Breyer discussed the many ways in which American judges, when interpreting American law, must take ever greater account of foreign events, law and practices—the subject of his book The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities (2015).
Aharon Barak, Professor of Law at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and former president of the Supreme Court of Israel, and Curtis Bradley, William Van Alstyne Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy Studies at Duke University, also delivered short remarks on the topic.
Breyer, born in San Francisco in 1938, is a graduate of Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard Law School. He taught law for many years as a professor at Harvard Law School and at the Kennedy School of Government. He has also worked as a Supreme Court law clerk (for Justice Arthur Goldberg), a Justice Department lawyer (antitrust division), an Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor, and Chief Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In 1980 he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by President Carter, becoming Chief Judge in 1990. In 1994 he was appointed a Supreme Court Justice by President Clinton.
The Brennan Center Jorde Symposium, an annual event, was created in 1996 to sponsor top scholarly discourse and writing from a variety of perspectives on issues that were central to the legacy of William J. Brennan, Jr. The Brennan Center named the Symposium in honor of its major benefactor Thomas M. Jorde, former Brennan clerk and Professor of Law at Berkeley Law School.