Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Refuses to Discuss Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 6, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Refuses to Discuss Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 6
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who has voted to uphold the Roe decision that legalized abortions, refused to talk about the contentious issue during a weekend interview. Breyer’s interview with "FOX News Sunday" host Chris Wallace was the first interview with a Supreme Court judge in that program’s history.

Breyer appeared on the show to discuss his recent book, "Active Liberty," but when Wallace asked him a question about abortion, the justice refused to answer.

Wallace said that one of the reasons abortion has been such a hotly contested issue is that the courts took away the decision-making process from legislatures to determine if and when abortion should be legal.

"Well, I purposely chose my examples in this book to illustrate a theme. And I didn’t choose abortion as one of them," Breyer said.

"Because more important to me in writing a book — I mean, I’ll decide abortion cases when they come up, but I know perfectly well that anything I say on that subject is enormously volatile," he added. "And so, I don’t want to talk about that subject, particularly in a public forum that isn’t the court."

Wallace tried to ask a different question and Breyer interjected: "No, not any question to do with abortion. I go back to book."

After a short exchange, Wallace went back to the issue of abortion and asked Breyer to discuss Supreme Court precedent. He told the pro-abortion justice abortion how abortion advocates say Roe v. Wade has been "settled law" for over 30 years even though the high court has overturned longer precedents — such as the 60 year-old Plessy v. Ferguson case.

"There are principles that help you decide, because you’re quite right in saying no precedent is 100 percent secure, but the more the precedent has been around and the more people rely on it, the more secure it has to be," Breyer responded.

Breyer ultimate dodged the question, saying, "There are a number different factors. And it’s going to take more than 12 minutes if I go into them here."

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, criticized Breyer for not responding to the questions.

Perkins said Breyer was "quick to dodge any questions on the subject" and "managed to free [himself] from the ‘burden’ of accountability and reason."