Justice Breyer: Language Problem?

Photograph by Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Justice Breyer, left, with Ambassador Westmacott,and his wife, Lady Westmacott.

“She’s had to teach me quite a lot,” Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said of his English wife, Joanna. “I still don’t understand the language that well.”

Breyer was guest of honor at a reception at the home of British Ambassador Peter Westmacott on Monday evening for 150 British university alumni living in the U.S.

Breyer studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, as a Marshall scholar starting in 1959 after graduating from Stanford University.

Among the guests were former congressman and fellow Oxford man Tom McMillen, and a coterie of Tory and Labor members of Parliament.

“They don’t say it much in England, but I think the U.K. universities are committed to a seriousness of purpose,” Breyer said. “They don’t talk about it, but it shows. It’s helped us, it’s guided us, and inspired us.”

“Educational exchange is one of the cornerstones of our special relationship,” Westmacott said.

Americans compete for Rhodes, Marshall and Truman scholarships to study in the U.K. According to the British embassy, 50,000 Americans study in the U.K. each year, and the Top 10 universities in the world are located in the U.K. or U.S.

Stephanie Green  writes for Bloomberg Muse. Follow her @stephlgreen

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