- Newly retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said that he did "everything" he could to stop the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
- "Did I do everything I could to persuade people? Of course, of course," Breyer told CNN.
- Breyer, an 84-year-old liberal, retired from the bench in June after serving nearly three decades.
Newly retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said that he did "everything" he could to stop the nation's high court from overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion.
Breyer, an 84-year-old liberal who retired from the bench this summer after serving for nearly three decades, weighed in on the decision in his first televised interview since stepping down from the court.
"And you say, did I like this Dobbs decision? Of course I didn't. Of course I didn't," a stern Breyer told CNN's Chris Wallace, referring to the Supreme Court's June 24 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which struck down Roe v. Wade along with a subsequent 1992 abortion ruling, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The consequential decision eliminated nearly 50 years of constitutionally protected abortion rights, allowing states to set their own abortion laws. Republican-led states have since banned the procedure, with 1 in 3 women nationwide losing access.
"Was I happy about it? Not for an instant," Breyer said in the interview, which aired Friday. "Did I do everything I could to persuade people? Of course, of course. But there we are, and now we go on. We try to work together."
Justice Samuel Alito delivered the 5-4 majority opinion to overrule Roe, joined by his conservative colleagues — Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Breyer, along with the court's two other liberals, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented.
"After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had," they wrote in a fierce dissenting opinion. "The majority accomplishes that result without so much as considering how women have relied on the right to choose or what it means to take that right away. The majority's refusal even to consider the life-altering consequences of reversing Roe and Casey is a stunning indictment of its decision."
Breyer's comments come as the Supreme Court is preparing to begin a new term on October 3. His replacement, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman confirmed to the court, will take her seat on the bench for the first time.
The court is set to review a number of high-profile issues, including affirmative action, election laws, and free speech, in what's shaping up to be another blockbuster term.
During the CNN interview, Breyer also commented on the unprecedented leak of the draft opinion overturning Roe. An investigation into the leak is ongoing.
"It was very damaging because that kind of thing just doesn't happen. It just doesn't happen. And there we are," Breyer said.