Liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, insists he has no plans to retire and is ‘happy’ on the court despite pressure from left-wing activists to step down so Biden can pick a replacement
- Liberals have been publicly calling for Breyer to step down to make way for a younger justice
- They are outnumbered on the court 6-3
- The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg resisted similar appeals and ended up being replaced by conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett
- Control of the 50-50 Senate is up for grabs in 2022
- He said he hasn’t decided when to step down
- Enjoys role of getting to be first to speak in conference as senior leader of the liberal
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is reveling in his current status as the senior liberal all the court and resisting pressure to retire – saying he has not decided when he will step down.
Asked while summering in New Hampshire whether he has decided when to step down, Breyer responded with a simple ‘No,’ CNN reported.
When he named the factors that would guide his decision, he did not mention anything having to do with the ideological makeup of the court, with a series of decisions falling along rigid lines with a 6-3 conservative majority.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, said he has not decided when to step down, after being publicly pressured to announce his retirement at the end of the court’s term
‘Primarily, of course, health,” Breyer said, when asked about what would inform his decision to step down. ‘Second, the court,’ he said.
He said he has been enjoying the prerogatives as a senior justice. The 27-year vet gets to speak first after Chief Justice John Roberts when the justices meet privately in conference. It ‘has made a difference to me,’ he said.
Some liberal commentators were pushing Breyer to step down when the court issued its final opinions in June, fearful of a replay of what happened with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Breyer says he enjoys his seniority on the court, which currently has a 6-3 conservative majority
President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett just weeks before the November 2020 elections. The Senate confirmed her before Trump left office
Liberals are still steaming at the way Republicans in the Senate were able to block former President Barack Obama’s high court nominee, Merrick Garland. He now serves as President Biden’s Attorney General
Ginsburg resisted similar pleas, then died at 87, then died in September. President Donald Trump quickly nominated a replacement, and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got the Senate to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett weeks before President Joe Biden was elected and Trump left office. Justice Barrett is 49.
McConnell had already infuriated liberals by failing to hold a hearing on former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the high court, Merrick Garland, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
This year the liberal group Demand Justice organized a billboard truck to circled the Supreme Court with the sign ‘Breyer, retire,’ and some lawmakers called for him to do so. Biden has pledged to nominate a black woman for the Supreme Court should a vacancy occur.
Control of the 50-50 Senate is up for grabs in 2022, and liberals fear if Republicans gain control Biden will be unable to get a justice confirmed in the second half of his term. Control could also flip should a death or vacancy in the Senate occur before then.