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COURTS MUST INTERVENE WHEN OTHER BRANCHES BREAK LAW, BREYER SAYS

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Courts are "ill-equipped to make broad-reaching policy determinations" but must step in when government's two other branches act unlawfully, Supreme Court nominee Stephen Breyer has told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Asked by the committee about "judicial activism," Breyer wrote that widespread reform and problem-solving are best left to the legislative and executive branches, both federal and state."Nevertheless, if the legislature or the executive either acts or fails to act in a manner that results in a violation of individual rights, the courts' role must include the difficult and sensitive task of defining an appropriate judicial remedy," Breyer said.

Breyer's answers to the committee's standard questionnaire for Supreme Court nominees were made public Thursday. His confirmation hearings are to begin July 12.

A federal appellate judge in Boston, Breyer was nominated by President Clinton last month to replace retiring Justice Harry Blackmun.

Asked to describe his most significant legal activities, Breyer listed his efforts as a Senate Judiciary Committee consultant to deregulate the airline and trucking industries and his later work as a committee lawyer on various legislation.