Dec. 3, 1993: Conversation With Justice Blackmun

Ted Koppel's rare interview with Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun.
5:13 | 12/02/11

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Transcript for Dec. 3, 1993: Conversation With Justice Blackmun
It is -- that and his sitting justice of the Supreme Court agrees to sit down for an interview. The court is perhaps the last major institution in the country that tries to remain above and even beyond the influence of public opinion. So it was with -- particular pleasure that my colleague Nina Totenberg of national public radio and sat down for an interview with justice Harry Blackmun. In his chambers. Mr. justice Blackmun I promise you right through the general as my colleague Amy Totenberg here -- -- for more specific questions I couldn't help but thinking. I was growing up for this morning and I saw the court but it doesn't look like an ancient Greek temple -- to a certain extent you and the other justices. A little bit like the articles of -- Reclusive you were hidden away here and I wonder to what degree you field. But that sense of isolation from the rest of the American public. Is useful. Well I think it's important but. At times I think we overdo it too -- like to know what people are thinking. What they're worried evolved. I think that's important them because behind it every case there -- -- individual. People. Many times -- called little people -- I can use of the phrase. Rather than just a moment Smith and country Joseph Angeles with a -- -- legal food. -- If there -- Supreme Court doesn't belong to -- congress -- to achieve justice or American. Injustices to people Supreme Court. Justice Blackmun it is sad that. This is the only institution in government. Where the top dogs do their own work. Hours -- you -- what how many days a week do you work. We know some most of dumber than others and I think I put. Harbor community for me -- is so when do we filmed. Just just over Houston. Would just Chief Justice were rumors saying my phone before reform have to do we kill. But. For me there -- numbers enough. Enough time. Thank you don't around 730. Purpose might -- every day it was them. We go through the day and I. I can only usually -- And -- conservative and I don't call. -- -- its. -- When it it's a rare Saturday I'm not tell her. But that's a good time because of telephone monitoring very much secretaries don't bother him. -- it's worked. Talk from moment if you -- I spoke earlier on -- you about the isolation. The job. I think this is a lonely jail. Despite the fact that we -- as a group of non. When it comes down -- what do we have to. Make or individual. Answers to every issue. -- phone that the Roman ministers not decreased four the profitable moment when -- court. Ultimately one's borders have to be Griswold is not what someone -- going to. The minister to enlarge on that a little -- because when you speak of the loneliness you must also be conscious. But the extraordinary and storms that you as an individual are going to. On the course of human events in this country. -- -- I didn't feel that her remarks from me Court of Appeals when I was there for almost a decade. But. And here it's. It is somewhat true there's usually on the -- line. That doesn't necessarily mean our decisions are crippled us. But it doesn't call me every once in awhile when I stop and think of the power that exists in this institution. Or for that matter in the individual justices. -- -- might be. Convicted and sentenced to death. And he can bring a petition here for a stay of execution and he goes to the circuit justice. Four of the circuit in which. His case is located. That's for -- has the power stating that institution. That's a lot of power. Of course the court could rule rule him. But -- often wonder what -- doing. Issue an -- read some others who -- -- Donors. For its original water for hand here right I thought I worked hard and -- -- -- return on time. Went from my organizations and sort of recover -- -- -- circuit that this is the toughest. --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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