b. August 15, 1938
San Francisco, CA

Justice Stephen Breyer

Took His Seat: August 3, 1994

'I think there are good reasons for it and good reasons against it. The best reason against it is the problem that we could become a symbol since we are the Supreme Court, and if it was in our court, it would be in every court in the country, criminal cases included...When you have television in some, not all, criminal cases, there are risks. The risks are that the witness is hesitant to say exactly what he or she thinks because he knows the neighbors are watching. The risk might be with some jurors that they are afraid that they will be identified on television and thus could become the victims of a crime. There are risks involving what the lawyer might or might not be thinking...Is he influenced by that television when he decides what evidence to present? So what you have in me and the other judges, is a conservative reaction, with a small 'c.' We didn't create the Supreme Court...But we are trustees for that reputation, a reputation of great importance so that government will work fairly in America...And not one of us wants to take a step that could undermine the courts as an institution.' '...I hope eventually the answer will become clear, that either those who are concerned about the negative effects are shown wrong, or they're shown right. But at the moment I think it's quite uncertain what the answer is.'

- Interview on C-SPAN's Q & A, December 4, 2005

'I think what bothers many people, at least me, on the other side, is that if it were in the Supreme Court, I think it would become a symbol for every court, and therefore it would be in every criminal trial in the country. And when I start thinking about witnesses, [sic] I don't want them thinking how they look to their neighbors...And I do think about the O.J. Simpson case. And I think I'm not certain I would vote in favor of having it in every criminal trial in the country. And then I also think a problem in the appellate court is that when we decide something, it's decided for millions of people. Of the millions of people who will be affected, only two or three are actually there in the form of parties... A decision of this issue, this kind of issue, which carries with it threats to that institution as well as benefits, should be decided after really pretty serious research and study, and not decided on the basis of something that happens to strike somebody two minutes in a conversation. And that goes, by the way, for me as well as for everybody else.'

- American Bar Association Rule of Law Symposium Panel on The Role of the Judiciary, November 10, 2005

'Let me not talk about the particular case, and let me think about things that were in my mind a year ago, or two years ago, well before that particular matter arose. At that time, I voted in favor in the judicial conference of experimenting with television in the courtroom. That has been carried out. The results are being evaluated.'

'In Massachusetts, television is in the courtroom. The Massachusetts judges I've spoken to seem generally satisfied. The results of that are being evaluated in the federal system. My particular appeals court was not part of the experiment, but not for want of willingness; it was because they could only have a small number.'

'That's the circumstances in which I think my vote in favor of the experiment was right as of this moment-abstracting from this particular case and putting myself back in the frame of mind I was two or three months ago in respect to this. That's basically my view.'

- Confirmation Hearing, July 13, 1994

Remarks on Cameras in the Court