Justice Stephen Breyer appeared for a rare virtual interview Wednesday afternoon and said that once a justice takes the bench "politics goes out the window," adding that justices rule based on judicial philosophies.
In a wide-ranging but brief conversation sponsored by the American Bar Association, Breyer acknowledged that politics might influence the appointment of a judge but not how he or she ultimately rules from the bench.
"I've never seen politics in that sense" Breyer said.
He did not speak directly about the term that ended in early July after the justices ruled on cases concerning the President's efforts to shield his financial documents from disclosure, among other blockbuster issues.
The interview with the American Bar Association's Judy Perry Martinez marked a rare sighting of a justice since the court closed its doors to the public because of Covid-19. Most speaking events that had been scheduled during the court's summer recess have been canceled. The court's last session of oral arguments was held over the phone.
Breyer appeared on a video feed from what looked like a log cabin.
Asked broadly about the state of the rule of law in the country, Breyer said he's "optimistic"
"We have had many ups and downs in this country," he said. "We did have slavery, we did have a civil war, we did have a legal system of segregation ... but somehow we do overcome them".