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64 N.Y.U. Ann. Surv. Am. L. 5 (2008-2009)
Tribute to Justice Stephen G. Breyer

handle is hein.journals/annam64 and id is 11 raw text is: TRIBUTE TO
I'm told I have five minutes to make three points, three differ-
ent points. First, you may think that the greatest job that Justice
Breyer ever assumed and his greatest impact was as Associate Justice
of the Supreme Court. You are incorrect. And if you corner Justice
Breyer, and engage him, he will agree with me. His greatest job in
public life was as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee
in the mid-1970s. That was where he had his greatest impact, and
that is where he had his greatest accomplishments, and I think the
most fun.
You see, Justice Breyer was chief counsel appointed by the
ranking chairman, Senator Ted Kennedy. The ranking minority
member was Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Every morning
when the Senate was in session, at 8:00 Am, Justice Breyer, then
chief counsel, would meet with the ranking counsel of the minor-
ity-Strom   Thurmond's counsel-Retired     General Emory
Sneeden. And the two of them would work out the agenda for the
And I was lucky enough sometimes to sit in on those meetings,
and Breyer would say, We will convene the committee at 10:00-
Emory, there will be a quorum. Emory would say, Yes, there will.
At 10:02, Senator Kennedy will introduce legislation; at 10:03, Sen-
ator Thurmond will object. At 10:04, Senator Kennedy will ask for a
roll call; at 10:05 Senator Thurmond will object. At 10:06, Senator
Kennedy will ask Senator Thurmond, 'Can we lay the bill over for
one week if we're guaranteed a vote?' At 10:08, Senator Thurmond
would say, 'Okay.'
And they would work out in a bipartisan way the complete
agenda for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now of course they
were very careful. They would always say to each other, Well we
have to go back to our principals and check. Judges were quickly
confirmed-you can have Mississippi if we can have Massachusetts,
you can have a district judge in California if we can have one in
Alabama. It worked. And today when you meet senators who re-
member those days-Biden, Baucas, Kennedy-the senators that
have been around-Leahy-they all say, Gee, Ken, remember
those days when the whole Senate was more bipartisan? That's be-
cause Justice Breyer and Emory Sneeden worked out the whole gov-
erning of that branch of government in a fantastic way, and
legislation went through; there were no objections, so it was all
Imaged with the Permission of NYU Annual Survey of American Law

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