Breyer misquotes Gettysburg Address during Supreme Court retirement announcement
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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer claimed his wife once paid their grandchildren to memorize Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but he had a little trouble reciting it himself during his retirement announcement Thursday.
Breyer was speaking at the White House when he got some of the words wrong while trying to remember the speech that Lincoln delivered on Nov. 19, 1863.
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Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer announces his retirement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. President Biden looks on. (Associated Press)
"I will tell you what Lincoln thought and what Washington thought and what people today still think. It's an experiment," Breyer told reporters about the United States. "It's an experiment. That's what they said. And Joanna [Breyer's wife] paid each of our grandchildren certain amount of money to memorize the Gettysburg Address. What I want the students to pick up, if I can remember, are the first two lines, ‘Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought upon -- created a new country. A country that was dedicated to liberty and the proposition that all men are created equal. Conceived in liberty.’
"Those were [Lincoln's] words," Breyer said. "Dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. We are now engaged in a great civil war to determine whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."
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President Biden delivers remarks on the retirement of Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, left, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. (Associated Press)
Well, they were ALMOST Lincoln's words.
Breyer said "forefathers," "created a new country. A country that was dedicated to liberty" and "to determine whether that nation," which are not in the Gettysburg Address.
Instead, the actual address went like this:
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."
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Stephen Breyer, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, speaks New York City, Sept. 13, 2021. (Getty Images)
Breyer spoke at the White House on Thursday and formally announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, which will take effect at the end of the court's current term later this year.