Justice Breyer was born in San Francisco, California, the state where he grew up but would spend very little time in as an adult (after his undergraduate education). He studied at Stanford University, earning an A.B. in 1959, before he attended the University of Oxford and received a B.A. in 1961. Justice Breyer then went to Harvard Law School, located in Massachusetts, the state from which he would be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, graduating with an LL.B. in 1964.
In 1957, before starting his undergraduate academic career, Justice Breyer served in the United States Army. Upon graduation from law school, he became a law clerk to Justice Arthur Goldberg during the October 1964 term. Justice Breyer then served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice from 1965 to 1967, when he left to join the faculty of his law school alma mater (during his career there, he would go on to teach as a professor from 1967 to 1980, and then as a lecturer from 1981 until his elevation to the SCUS). In 1973, he took a break from academia to serve as an Assistant Special Prosecutor of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. Justice Breyer later became a Professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in 1977, and built a highly successful career as an academic, rising to become one of the premier authorities on administrative law in the entire country. He left his position at the Kennedy School of Government in 1980 when he was appointed to be a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by President James E. Carter (which the United States Senate later confirmed), where he would eventually go on to serve as Chief Judge from 1990 until his elevation to the SCUS.
Justice Breyer was nominated to by President William J. Clinton on May 17, 1994, to a seat vacated by Justice Harry Blackmun. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 29, and received his commission on August 3, the same day he took the Judicial Oath to officially join the SCUS. Justice Breyer is the sixth most senior Member of the SCUS and is an actively serving Justice.
Justice Breyer is a staunch member of the SCUS’s contemporary left-leaning block, though he is also seen as the least liberal of the Court’s currently-serving Democratic appointees, thanks in large part to his fairly right-leaning views on police and 4th Amendment-related issues (an area where he is actually more conservative than even Justice Antonin Scalia, who often joins the three other liberals in dissent on such cases). He is widely regarded as likely to become the SCUS’s new crucial swing vote should one of the Court’s Republican-appointed Members retire under a Democratic President.