Justice Stephen Breyer Discusses the Supreme Court and Politics at Smithsonian Associates Event

September 9, 2021
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Stephen Breyer

Justice Stephen Breyer

Smithsonian Associates presents an evening with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Monday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. ET. The event will be held live to a limited-capacity audience at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery at Eighth and G streets N.W. and simulcast on Zoom. Breyer will discuss his new book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics.

In response to growing criticism that the Supreme Court has become too political, Breyer asserts that the judiciary’s hard-won authority could be marred by reforms premised on the assumption of ideological bias. Having, as Alexander Hamilton observed, “no influence over either the sword or the purse,” Breyer argues that the court earned its authority by making decisions that have, over time, increased the public’s trust. In his new book, Breyer argues for a way to promote better understandings of how the judiciary actually works, how judges adhere to their oaths and how they try to avoid considerations of politics and popularity.

In an exclusive interview, Breyer will discuss why political intervention could itself further erode public trust, imperiling the court’s ability to act as a check on the other branches of government or as a guarantor of the rule of law, risking serious harm to the United States’ constitutional system.

Tickets for the Smithsonian Associates’ in-person and streaming program include a pre-signed copy of Breyer’s book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics (Harvard University Press). Ticket prices are $45 for general admission and $40 for Smithsonian Associates members. To register, the public visit www.smithsonianassociates.org or call (202) 633-3030.

CDC and Smithsonian COVID-19 guidelines in effect at the time of the program will be followed. Updates will be posted as they become available. Protocols such as distanced seating, mask mandate and/or proof of vaccination may be required. The theater will be seated at approximately 50% capacity, and social-distancing policies will be in place. View additional guidelines for visiting the Smithsonian.

For 55 years, Smithsonian Associates has produced vibrant educational and cultural programming that brings the Smithsonian to life. Inspired by the Smithsonian’s research, collections and exhibitions nearly 1,000 public programs spark creativity and excite learning in people of all ages each year.

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