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Judge Breyer's Beantown Palace

Up Front


Supreme Court nominee Stephen Breyer may someday pen monumental decisions. But already he has created a more tangible monument. As chief judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, Breyer was heavily involved in planning a lavish new waterfront courthouse, one of the costliest federal courthouses ever. In four years, the I.M. Pei-designed structure's price has soared 34%, to $218 million, or $285 per square foot--triple the average cost for state and local courthouses. Construction is to start this winter.

The judges will benefit from 37 libraries and 33 kitchens. Plus, the courthouse has a six-story atrium, a $450,000 boat dock on Boston Harbor, and $789,000 in artwork. Representative John Duncan (R-Tenn.) gripes that this doesn't show "high regard for the taxpayer." With his nomination pending, Breyer isn't talking to the press.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT AND JULIE TILSNER

Race, Class, and the Future of Ferguson

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