Two Supreme Court Justices spent the afternoon with members of another branch of government. Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the role of judges in American democracy.
In this rare hearing, Scalia and Breyer, two of the longest serving members on the current Court, brought intelligent and humorous responses to topics ranging from their political philosophy to how they decide to hear cases to cameras in the courtroom.
At one point during the hearing, the Justices were asked about their view of the U.S. Constitution. Justice Breyer believes the Constitution is a "living document" which adheres to the Founders' "values" but changes to society and technology must be considered. "Most of our job is applying those values to a world that changes a lot," Breyer said.
Justice Scalia said he is not fit to judge the values of the current American public. He defines his Consitutional views as "originalist," which believes the Constitution is a static document and should be interpreted based on how the Founders wrote it.
Both Justices said they are hesitant to allow cameras in the courtroom (see C-SPAN's recent interview with fmr. Justice Stevens on cameras in the courtroom) and that recusing themselves on a case is self-decided.
The last time a Supreme Court Justice testified before the Senate was in 2007 when Justice Anthony Kennedy testified about “judicial security and independence,” according to the Judiciary Committee.
The Supreme Court began a new session this week and is expected to hear cases on topics including police tracking of suspects with GPS, indecency standards on television, and potentially the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.