He may not quite be the Funniest Justice, but the argument can be made that Justice Stephen G. Breyer is the most accident-prone member o f the U.S. Supreme Court.
Breyer broke his shoulder Friday in a fall off of his bicycle near the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington – his second serious biking accident in the last two years and his third overall. He’s recovering from reverse shoulder replacement surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and is expected to be released early this week, according to the Supreme Court’s Public Information Office.
In 2011, Breyer broke his collarbone while bicycling near his home in Cambridge, Mass. Back in 1993, Breyer interviewed with then-President Bill Clinton for a Supreme Court post while still recovering from broken ribs and a punctured lung suffered when he was hit by a car while bicycling in the Bay State. Clinton nominated Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg instead, but Breyer got the nod from Clinton a year later.
Breyer is not the only justice to suffer accidental injuries. Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor suffered a broken ankle after taking a spill at an airport during her Senate confirmation process in 2009. And in 2011, DC Dicta spotted Sotomayor limping into the courtroom during oral arguments, propping her leg on a footrest behind the bench and occasionally wincing in pain. The court’s press office later confirmed to DC Dicta that the justice “was experiencing some knee/ligament discomfort,” although no cause was provided.
More recently, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell at her home and suffered broken ribs last year. In 2009 Ginsburg suffered a bad reaction to medication and fell off her chair while aboard an airplane – a month after fainting in her chambers.