Politics Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's Career in Photos The justice — who served nearly 30 years on the court — is relinquishing his spot on the bench on June 30 By Kate Hogan and Amanda Taheri Amanda Taheri Twitter Amanda Taheri is an editorial intern at PEOPLE. She is a graduate student in NYU's global journalism program. People Editorial Guidelines Published on June 30, 2022 09:48 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos 01 of 08 Stephen Breyer's Early Years Ira Wyman/getty Born on Aug. 15, 1938, in San Francisco, Stephen Breyer had a lengthy career in law and the justice system before joining the Supreme Court. After graduating from Stanford, Oxford and Harvard Law, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and was an assistant special prosecutor of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force in the early 1970s. In the 1980s and early '90s, he moved on as a judge in the United States Court of Appeals. During this time he also served as a professor at Harvard. 02 of 08 Stephen Breyer with Ted Kennedy Laura Patterson/getty Breyer's work also included time spent as special counsel and chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he worked with such congresspeople as Sen. Ted Kennedy. He even officiated the wedding of Kennedy's son Patrick in 2011. 03 of 08 Stephen Breyer with President Bill Clinton Ron Sachs/CNP/Getty When President Bill Clinton nominated Breyer to the Supreme Court in 1994, he said, "The case for [his] confirmation is clear and compelling: his sheer excellence, his broad understanding of the law, his deep respect for the role of the courts in our life and in protecting our individual rights, and his gift as a consensus builder." He continued, "[He] will bring to the Court a well-recognized and impressive ability to build bridges in pursuit of fairness and justice." 04 of 08 Stephen Breyer's Confirmation Hearing Ron Sachs/getty During his 1994 confirmation hearings, Breyer vowed to "remember that the decisions I help to make will have an effect upon the lives of many, many Americans." 05 of 08 Stephen Breyer and Wife Joanna Hare Bill O'Leary/getty With wife Dr. Joanna Hare — whom he married in 1967 — at a White House state dinner in 2011. Together they have three children, Chloe, Nell and Michael. 06 of 08 Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sit For Their Official Photograph. Andrew Harrer/getty Breyer served in the Supreme Court's liberal minority for nearly three decades, leading him to author numerous dissenting opinions. Despite this, "he always remained optimistic," Brianne Gorod, one of his former law clerks and chief counsel at Constitutional Accountability Center, wrote in an essay. Breyer is known as a "pragmatist" who incorporates "real-world context" into his judicial decision-making process. He "does everything he can to find common ground," Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the Supreme Court's press release about his retirement. 07 of 08 Stephen Breyer with President Barack Obama Pete Marovich/getty Breyer made a point to attend most every presidential State of the Union address during his tenure. "I think it is very, very, very, important, very important for us to show up at that State of the Union — because people today, as you know, are more and more visual," he told Fox News, via Politico. "I'd like them to read, but they are visual. And what they see in front of them at that State of the Union is the federal government, every part, the president, the Congress, the Cabinet, military, and I would like them to see the judges too, because federal judges are also part of that government." 08 of 08 Stephen Breyer with President Joe Biden Alex Wong/Getty When Breyer, now 83, announced his intention to retire in 2022, President Joe Biden recalled how the two went back to the 1970s, and said he felt "proud and grateful to be there at the start of his distinguished career on the Supreme Court," per C-SPAN. "During his confirmation hearings ... [he said], 'The law must work for [the] people.' His brilliance, his values, his scholarship are why Judge Breyer became Justice Breyer by an overwhelming bipartisan vote at the time."