Justice Stephen Breyer has served on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1994. (Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States)
Stephen Breyer, born in San Francisco in 1938, is a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a graduate of Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard Law School. He taught law for many years as a professor at Harvard Law School and at the Kennedy School of Government. He has 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 (working closely with Senator Edward M. Kennedy to pass the Airline Deregulation Act). 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, economic regulation, and constitutional law, including Regulation and Its Reform, Breaking the Vicious Circle: Toward Effective Risk Regulation, Active Liberty, Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View, The Court and the World, and The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics, which was recently published.
His wife, Joanna, was born in Great Britain and is a retired clinical psychologist. They have three children (Chloe, Nell, and Michael) and six grandchildren.
Breyer has been named the 2022 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law.
Past Jefferson Medal in Law Recipients
On the anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, April 13 (known locally as Founder’s Day), the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello join together to present the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals to recognize achievements of those who embrace endeavors in which Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S. president, excelled and held in high regard. These medals are the highest external honors bestowed by the University of Virginia, which grants no honorary degrees. For information on Founder’s Day, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals and the 2020 recipients, click here.