Tales from the Trail

High court justice has another bike accident by Cambridge home

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer might want to give up riding his bicycle around his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or at least be more careful.

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the 72-year-old Breyer broke his right collarbone from a spill while riding his bike near his Cambridge, Mass., court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

Breyer missed Tuesday’s court session, but that was unrelated to his mishap, she said, adding that he did make a previously scheduled appearance in speaking to a New York City historical event Tuesday night.

In 1993, Breyer, then a judge on the U.S. court of appeals based in Boston, suffered broken ribs and other injuries when he was hit by a car while riding his bike across Harvard Square in Cambridge. The former Harvard law professor was appointed to the Supreme Court the following year.

- Photo credit: Pool photo (Breyer with Britain’s Prince Charles during a recent visit to Washington)

U.S. Supreme Court closes front entrance, by 7-2 vote

The Supreme Court’s famous front entrance, at the top of its marble steps and under the words “Equal Justice Under Law,” will be closed to the public.

Starting Tuesday, visitors will no longer be able to enter the building through the front doors at the top of 44 marble steps on the plaza directly across from the U.S. Capitol. On days when there are arguments in major cases like abortion or free speech rights, the line to hear the arguments often stretches well beyond the plaza.

USA-COURT/SOTOMAYORInstead, visitors will enter the building through ground-level side doors, going through a new screening facility that has been built as part of the Supreme Court’s  modernization project.

U.S. Supreme Court advice for Obama

Someone experienced in making hard decisions with the imagination to understand how rulings affect the lives of Americans. OBAMA/

Those words of advice came from Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer as President Barack Obama searches for a replacement for retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

Testifying before Congress on the Supreme Court’s budget request, they gave their views about the type of person Obama should select, without getting into judicial philosophy. The U.S. Senate must confirm the nominee.

Broken clocks, laryngitis at the Supreme Court

In a place where the time to argue some of the most important legal issues in the United States is pivotal yet limited, clocks throughout the Supreme Court building were not working on Monday — including the big one behind the bench that attorneys arguing their case and that spectators in the audience can see.

After the justices went on the bench at 10 a.m., Chief Justice John Roberts noted the problem and pointed out that attorneys are sometimes told not to look at the clock during oral arguments. “That is particularly important today,” he said.

USA/Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the problem stemmed from a “malfunction” with the court’s master clock. It apparently occurred when the clocks were to be turned back over the weekend for the end of daylight saving time.