Justice Stephen Breyer said Thursday the Supreme Court will be a "grayer place" without late Justice Antonin Scalia
Asked about the fact that the court now only has eight members, Breyer said "we will do our work"
Justice Stephen Breyer said Thursday the Supreme Court will be a “grayer place” without late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“He was a good friend,” Breyer said, adding that the other justices will miss him.
The remarks came during an on-camera discussion at the Newseum in Washington about his book, “The Court and the World,” with NBC’s Pete Williams.
Asked about the fact that the court now only has eight members, Breyer said, “we will do our work” and noted that the court is often unanimous.
Williams suggested there might be eight justices for a while, to which Breyer responded, “that’s your determination.”
The justices returned from their winter recess last Monday and heard arguments for the first time without Scalia, who died in his sleep February 13.
As is tradition, Scalia’s chair was draped in black crepe.
At a speaking engagement at Yale earlier this month, Breyer had asked for a moment of silence in honor of Scalia.
The court will hear several high-profile cases this term, including ones on abortion and immigration. If the court is evenly divided, it could order re-arguments or allow lower court rulings to stand with no Supreme Court precedent.
The event was later opened up for questions from the audience, and one person asked Breyer about same-sex marriage.
The justice called it a “controversial matter” and didn’t answer directly but repeated his belief that the court is not made up of “junior varsity politicians.”
The next question from a different audience member asked Breyer how he defines the words “advise and consent,” an apparent reference to the Senate’s role in confirming Supreme Court nominations.
“I thought there couldn’t be a question that would be more controversial at this very moment than the one that was asked before but you’ve come up with it,” he said to laughter, though he didn’t answer the question.