WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer thanked the Baptist Joint Committee for filing briefs before the High Court, saying at the Oct. 1 opening of the BJC’s new Center for Religious Liberty on Capitol Hill that “when you file briefs, they help.”
He continued, “It doesn’t mean you always win,” drawing laughter from the audience that included members of the Baptist Joint Committee Board of Directors and friends.
BJC Executive Director J. Brent Walker and General Counsel K. Hollyn Hollman gave Breyer a private tour of the Center before the justice made brief remarks to a gathering held in conjunction with the annual board meeting. He spoke on the opening day of the new Supreme Court term.
In his remarks, Breyer mentioned a book by a member of the British Supreme Court that made an impression on him. “If you want to look to the foundation of our liberty,” he recalled of Lord Radcliffe’s The Law and Its Compass, “look to the freedom of religion.”
He said he is well aware of Baptists’ long-fought battles protecting religious freedom not just for themselves, but for people of other faiths as well.
BJC General Counsel K. Hollyn Hollman, who introduced Breyer, said it was a great honor to have a sitting justice attend the opening event.
“The Supreme Court is extremely important in the continuing fight to protect religious freedom,” Hollman said. “We are grateful to Justice Breyer for his service and contributions to protect our first freedom.”
Breyer has served on the High Court since 1994 after his nomination by President Bill Clinton. He joined the Court after serving as a judge for the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A graduate of Stanford University, Oxford University and Harvard Law School, Justice Breyer worked as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and served in various positions in government and academia.
The Center for Religious Liberty expands the BJC’s education efforts, including additional space for scholars and advocates, displays illustrating the history and mission of the organization and improved technology throughout.
Click here to watch Justice Breyer’s remarks.
For more on the Center, see these additional stories in the October 2012 edition of Report from the Capital:
Holding up the jewel of religious liberty by Brent Walker
From the October 2012 Report from the Capital. Click here for the next article.
Click here to view the entire magazine as a PDF document.