Seats for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer Lecture at JTS Are Now Filled

"Making Democracy Work" is Bernard G. Segal Memorial Lecture in Law and Ethics

Press Contact: Eve Glasberg
Office: (212) 678-8089

January 12, 2012, New York, NY

Due to an overwhelming response, The Jewish Theological Seminary's special evening with Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Thursday, January 26, 2012, is now sold out. The latest in a line of U.S. Supreme Court Justices who have appeared at JTS over the years (including Earl Warren, Antonin Scalia, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg), Justice Breyer will deliver the Bernard G. Segal Memorial Lecture in Law and Ethics at 7:30 p.m. at the JTS campus (3080 Broadway, at 122nd Street) in New York City. Justice Breyer’s lecture, titled "Making Our Democracy Work," is cosponsored by the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies (LFI) of JTS and Columbia Law School.

The Supreme Court is one of the most extraordinary institutions in our system of government. Charged with the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution, the nine unelected justices of the Court have the tremendous power to strike down laws enacted by our elected representatives. Why does the public accept the Court’s decisions as legitimate and follow them, even when those decisions may be highly unpopular? What must the Court do to maintain the public’s faith? How do the courts help make our democracy work? Justice Breyer will address these and other pressing questions and explore how unchanging constitutional values apply to ever-changing circumstances. As an institution deeply committed to halakhah, Jewish law, and the role and relevance of the courts and the American legal system, JTS is the ideal venue for Justice Breyer’s presentation.

Stephen Breyer is a graduate of Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard Law School. He was a professor at Harvard Law School and at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He also worked as a Supreme Court law clerk for Justice Arthur Goldberg, a Justice Department lawyer (antitrust division), an Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor, and Chief Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In 1980 he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by President Carter, becoming Chief Judge in 1990. In 1994 he was appointed a Supreme Court Justice by President Clinton. He has written books and articles about administrative law and economic regulation, and, most recently, Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View.

The annual Bernard G. Segal Memorial Lecture was established by JTS in honor of the late philanthropist and community leader. Mr. Segal was the first Jewish president of the American Bar Association and the first Jewish chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Since 1938, LFI has offered innovative programs in public policy that emphasize conversation among the diverse segments of American society.

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