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Breyer Vows to Boost Public’s Trust in Law

From Associated Press

Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer pledged Friday to work to enhance the public’s trust in the nation’s justice system “for it is the very foundation of the rule of law.”

Breyer, guest of honor at a White House ceremony, repeated the constitutional oath he took at Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s vacation cottage Aug. 3--the day Breyer officially became a justice.

Despite that earlier action, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton referred to Breyer in welcoming remarks as “judge-soon-to-be-justice.”

After Justice Antonin Scalia, the senior high court member in town, administered the oath, Breyer told those assembled he would do his best to meet “this awesome responsibility.”

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“A court is not a bureaucracy and a judge is not a bureaucrat,” he said.

The First Lady apologized for her absent husband, whom she said had looked forward to congratulating Breyer in person.

President Clinton traveled to Minnesota to thump for a revival of the crime bill blocked by the House on Thursday.

The First Lady explained that the President’s absence from Breyer’s ceremony was due to “unexpected and unfortunate circumstances.”

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Vice President Al Gore, saying he did not want to sound partisan, did some of his own imploring for a better way to deal with “the problem of violent crime.”

Still wrapping up his duties as chief judge of the Boston-based U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, Breyer this week worked out of Justice David H. Souter’s offices in the Supreme Court’s Capitol Hill building. Souter is back home in Concord, N.H.

“He’s in a transitional mode, mostly administrative things,” court spokeswoman Toni House said of Breyer. “He won’t really get moved in until Sept. 1 or shortly thereafter.” The court’s 1994-95 term begins Oct. 3, but the nine justices will meet in conference the previous week to prepare for that start.

Among Breyer’s tasks: hiring law clerks and a second secretary, getting his chambers furnished and finding a place to live.

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