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Justices Scalia and Breyer Share Their Views on the Constitution with the Senate Judiciary Committee

October 10th, 2011

In a rare  moment of off-the-bench candor, Justice Scalia and Justice Breyer testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week to discuss their divergent views on how to interpret the U.S. Constitution.  While Scalia advocated his Originalist perspective that the Court should base their reading of the Constitution on the framers’ original intent, Breyer believes that courts should look to the underlying values of the text and apply them to the modern world, calling it “the living Constitution.” This prompted Scalia to quip, “I’m hoping that the living Constitution will die.”
Scalia’s comment, though some may read it as the kind of sharp antagonism found in his dissenting opinions, was actually more of a friendly jab. Scalia and Breyer may be rivals on the bench, but these two Justices joked with one another and even helped support each other’s arguments during the course of the hearing.  To hear some audio clips from their testimony, you can listen to the NPR report here.