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For immediate release
September 29, 2005
Chad Campbell, NPR: | 202.513.2304

In Exclusive Interview with NPR's Nina Totenberg, Justice Stephen Breyer Offers Insight into the Supreme Court And The Major Issues They Face

Breyer Talks about Flexible Interpretations of the Constitution, Individual Rights and No Longer Having to Open the Justices' Door; To air on September 29 All Things Considered

Washington, D.C. -- In his first broadcast interview following the confirmation of John Roberts, Justice Stephen Breyer speaks at length with NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent on the September 29 All Things Considered about the current state of the Supreme Court, the impact of two new justices, his own legal philosophy and the constitutional boundaries of divisive issues.

All Things Considered stations and broadcast times are available at The complete audio will be available on at approximately 7:30 p.m. (ET). Additional segments of the interview will air on NPR's Morning Edition on September 30, as well as be available on

In the wide-ranging interview, Breyer defines how he goes about interpreting the Constitution, the statutes and the regulations that come before the Court. He argues for a more flexible, adaptive interpretation of the Constitution's words and how that reflects the goals and actions of the framers. Breyer notes, "Very often the history simply does not tell you the answer." He applies his theory to some of the most divisive legal questions of recent years, including affirmative action and campaign finance. He also comments on constitutional boundaries and individual rights in regard to such issues as abortion and gay rights.

Finally, Breyer explains how the replacement for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will personally affect him. As the junior justice for the past 11 years, he's followed tradition and handled the duty of doorman at the Justices' private weekly conferences. With this upcoming arrival, "I will not have to open the door in case somebody knocks, because I will no longer be the junior."

Breyer is author of the new book, Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution.

NPR has provided comprehensive reporting of the recent John Roberts confirmation hearings, including gavel-to-gavel coverage of the testimony and a one-hour wrap-up program airing each evening.

All Things Considered, which airs on 620 public radio stations nationwide, and according to published reports is No. 4 overall among all national radio programming, with 11.7 million weekly listeners.

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.