Stephen Gerald Breyer is an American lawyer and jurist who has served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1994. He was nominated by President Bill Clinton, and replaced retiring justice Harry Blackmun

Breyer was born on August 15, 1938, in San Francisco, California, to Anne A. (née Roberts) and Irving Gerald Breyer. Breyer's paternal great-grandfather emigrated from Romania to the United States, settling in Cleveland, where Breyer's grandfather was born.

Breyer clerked for Supreme Court Associate Justice Arthur J. Goldberg for the 1964-1965 term, before becoming special assistant to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust. In 1967, he embarked on a lengthy tenure as a law professor at Harvard.

Initially considered for a seat on the Supreme Court upon the retirement of Byron White in 1993, Breyer instead waited another year to earn President Bill Clinton's nomination as a replacement for Harry Blackmun. Following a week of hearings, he was approved by the Senate by a vote of 87 to 9 and assumed his position as associate justice on August 3, 1994.

During his early years as an assistant professor, Breyer met psychologist Joanna Hare, the daughter of British Conservative Party leader John Hare. The couple married in 1967, and they have three children. Breyer has several interests outside of law, including cooking and bicycling. He was involved in a serious bike accident while under consideration for the Supreme Court

Stephen Breyer makes it official: He's leaving the Supreme Court on Thursday at noon

In a letter to President Joe Biden, Breyer said it had been his "great honor" to participate as a judge in the "effort to maintain our Constitution and the Rule of Law."

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will then take the oaths to begin her service as the 116th member of the court.

In the opinion, Breyer wrote that after spending many years on the court reviewing countless death penalty cases, he had come to question whether innocent people had been executed. He also feared that the penalty was being applied arbitrarily across the country. He noted that, in some cases, death row inmates could spend years -- sometimes in solitary confinement -- waiting for their executions.