It was 2 p.m. on Monday, just a few hours after the Supreme Court opened its new term. Sitting for an interview in his newly renovated chambers, Justice Stephen Breyer had a fire roaring in the fireplace and tea service at the ready.

The day had been historic. Justice Elena Kagan joined the Court, giving it three women for the first time. And for the first time since the 1975, John Paul Stevens wasn’t on the bench. But Breyer was guarded when asked about the day, offering only that “it was a nice day, nice to have new members, always sorry to lose our old members.”