Stephen Breyer is an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. (November 2013)


On Reading Proust

Marcel Proust on vacation with his family, circa 1892
It’s all there in Proust—all mankind! Not only all the different character types, but also every emotion, every imaginable situation. Proust is a universal author: he can touch anyone, for different reasons; each of us can find some piece of himself in Proust, at different ages. What is most extraordinary about Proust is his ability to capture the subtlest nuances of human emotions, the slightest variations of the mind and the soul. To me, Proust is the Shakespeare of the inner world.

On Handguns and the Law

Carl Fredrik Reutersward: Non-violence, 1985, United Nations Plaza, New York City
The following is drawn from Justice Breyer’s forthcoming book Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View, to be published by Knopf in September. In that book Justice Breyer uses examples drawn from the Court’s history to show how its members have approached decisions in difficult cases. In this excerpt concerning …