JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Stephen Breyer, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, spoke yesterday at a Rotary Club meeting at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
Breyer in isles for forum
Democracy is at the core of the Constitution, and at the core of Stephen Breyer's thinking as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, the associate justice said yesterday during a speech to the Rotary Club of Honolulu.
On affirmative action, Breyer said there are two sides of the debate: Those who believe the Constitution is colorblind, and those who believe there is still discrimination in society. Breyer said he does not support a society with an "us versus them" mentality.
"What happens to our democratic process if in fact a large number of Americans think it's them and not us?" asked Breyer at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. "How do you run a democratic society under those circumstances? How does our country work?"
Breyer is in Hawaii as part of the University of Hawaii's "Jurist-in-Residence" program at the William S. Richardson School of Law. He was appointed to the high court by President Clinton in 1994.
Breyer took some questions from the Rotary membership, one of which touched on abortion. Breyer dodged the issue, drawing big laughs after he replied, "I don't talk about it at all because I haven't yet lost my mind. So there we are, and what is the next question?"
Breyer will be on a panel tomorrow at the law school discussing the legal challenge to Kamehameha Schools' admission policy giving preference to native Hawaiians.