Justice Breyer’s decision to quote Gettysburg Address and 'civil war' in retirement remarks 'not by accident': experts
During his unscripted remarks with President Joe Biden at a White House event Thursday to announce his retirement, Justice Stephen Breyer made very specific mention of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, quoting from the iconic president’s famous Civil War-era speech (video below.)
Bloomberg White House reporter Jennnifer Epstein observed the Justice, who will have served for 28 years on the nation’s highest court, held up a copy of the Constitution at one point as he was speaking.
Breyer holds up his pocket Constitution as he discusses his service on the Supreme Court and his retirement planspic.twitter.com/8YdBRWE932— Jennifer Epstein (@Jennifer Epstein) 1643305816
“Please listen carefully,” NBC News Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss urged. “Not by accident did Justice Breyer, in appearance with President Biden, quote Lincoln saying that the nation was ‘engaged in a great Civil War’ and remind us that the American system is always an experiment whose survival must never be taken for granted.”
Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal calls Breyer’s remarks “brilliant,” and also notes his civil war remarks were not by accident.
A brilliant speech by Justice Breyer just now. It cannot have been an accident that he singled out Lincoln\u2019s Gettysburg Address and the lines about civil war.— Neal Katyal (@Neal Katyal) 1643305955
Leah Litman, an assistant professor of constitutional law at the University of Michigan observed, “Justice Breyer seems to be … pointedly talking about threats facing the country. and about how future generations will determine and see whether this experiment succeeds.”
The LA Times’ White House reporter Eli Stokols says Justice Breyer was “suggesting America’s still engaged in ‘a civil war’ but expressing optimism that the democratic experiment will endure.”
BREYER: "People have come to accept this Constitution and \u2026 the importance of a rule of law \u2026 we are now engaged in a great civil war to determine whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure \u2026 I am an optimist and I'm pretty sure it will."pic.twitter.com/9sVo5DKA2d— JM Rieger (@JM Rieger) 1643306495
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