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Irony Alert: Breyer's Selective Cross-Border Views

Following a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Justice Stephen Breyer, in which he called on his colleagues to “increasingly consider the world beyond our national frontiers,” Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth released this statement:

It is ironic that Justice Breyer wants the U.S. Supreme Court to look beyond its borders when his very institution lags behind high courts the world over on basic measures of openness and accountability.

There’s no broadcast ban, for example, in the supreme courts of the U.K. and Brazil, and justices in Israel and Germany do not serve for life. The top jurists in Canada must follow a formal code of conduct, and those in Australia fall under the jurisdiction of their country’s Freedom of Information Act. And justices in many foreign countries let the public know in advance where and when they will give a speech or teach a class.

For our high court to become what Justice Breyer would like – a trusted institution at home and a shining example abroad – it should, as he writes, “consider the world beyond our national frontiers” and take basic yet important steps to meet both domestic and international expectations of transparency.

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