As Justice Stephen Breyer’s clerks and colleagues remember his role as a justice being one who deeply cared about each case and the people affected by the court’s rulings, plaintiffs lawyers link the future credibility of the court directly to the justices’ ability to connect with the common people.

Breyer’s replacement should be “sensitive to the day-to-day realities of working people,” Darren J. Robbins, founding partner of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, said of the opening left after Breyer’s retirement announcement. “Too often, those who succeed in life, in academia, in business, over time they become somewhat removed of the realities most Americans face.”