On March 23, 1999, Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer committed a major breach of etiquette: he used the word "I." Justice Breyer's singular pronoun attracted public scrutiny because it occurred not in a casual conversation or personal anecdote, but rather in a Supreme Court majority opinion.' Typically, a Justice who authors a majority opinion speaks in the first person plural; "we" is the pronoun of choice, with "I" reserved for concurrences or dissents. Yet when the Court handed down its decision in South Central Bell Telephone Co. v. Alabama, Justice Breyer's unanimous opinion contained the prohibited pronoun.
"The Jurisprudence of "As Though": Democratic Dialogue and the Signed Supreme Court Opinion,"
Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities: Vol. 26
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlh/vol26/iss2/3