Today, June 30, was Justice Stephen Breyer`s last day on the Supreme Court. It`s now the first day that we have a former public defender on the high court, with Ketanji Brown Jackson replacing Breyer. It`s so rare to see public defenders rise through the judicial ranks, and unheard of for them to be considered for the highest court in the land. I hope this is a new trend. We need some people who are in this business who do it for a bigger reason than just a good paycheck — because God knows public defenders don`t do it for the money.
Dale Chappell is the author of hundreds of published articles on the federal criminal justice system, and the Insider`s Guide series of federal post-conviction books. He is a consultant in federal post-conviction procedure and an authority on federal sex offense issues.