Stephen Breyer was named to the United States Supreme Court by then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, and is usually considered part of the court’s liberal wing. But Breyer is more interested in serving the people than any political party. As he wrote in his book Active Liberty, the U.S. Constitution outlines a form of government that lets citizens “make up their own minds about how they want to live together in their communities.”
Breyer made up his own mind about community in San Francisco’s Troop 14. As a Scout, simple acts like cleaning up campsites or doing service projects became life lessons for Breyer and his brother Charles, himself an Eagle Scout and a federal judge.
After earning degrees from Stanford and Oxford universities, Breyer entered Harvard Law School, where he edited the prestigious Harvard Law Review. He later taught at Harvard for many years.
Breyer’s government service began in 1964, when he clerked for Associate Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg. After stints at the Justice Department and as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Breyer was named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in 1980. He served as chief judge of that court from 1990 until his elevation to the Supreme Court in 1994.