Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement. He will stay in the Supreme Court only until the end of the current term. This gives President Biden an opportunity to nominate a new, liberal Supreme Court Justice.
Stephen Breyer Is Oldest Member of the Supreme Court
The 83-year old Supreme Court Justice is the oldest member of the group. He began his SC career in 1994 when former president Bill Clinton nominated him for the job. He has been a liberal member of the highest court since then.
The justice’s retirement this term gives President Joe Biden an excuse to nominate a new liberal justice. Earlier, Biden promised his constituents that he will install a Black woman on the bench.
However, this won’t change the majority. With Justice Stephen Breyer, the court stands at 6-3 in favor of the majority conservatives. This includes three nominees from former President Donald Trump.
These are Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney-Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch. They are known to involve themselves in divisive cultural issues and question precedents.
Stephen Breyer Retiring By Next Term
The Supreme Court’s next term begins on October 30. This gives Biden around nine months to position his nominee. According to experts, the plan is to ensure that the succession from Breyer to the new SC Justice happens smoothly.
However, Republicans won’t be that easy to convince. Depending on the midterm elections, the GOP can retake the majority and complicate the nomination process.
Currently, Democrats can confirm Breyer’s successor with a simple majority in the Senate. At present, the Senate is split into a 50-50 tie among both parties. Vice President Kamala Harris wields the decisive tiebreaker if needed.
On His Own Terms
Meanwhile, the White House confirmed the decision of Justice Stephen Breyer. In a tweet, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the justices themselves have the option on how, when, and what to announce. “That remains the case today,” Psaki tweeted.
Biden himself declined to comment on Breyer’s decision. He echoes Psaki’s statement that the justices can do so at their own discretion. The Supreme Court also did not give its comment regarding retirement.
Rumors persist that Democratic progressives pushed Breyer to retire while Biden is in office and the Dems hold the majority. This can also help preserve the three liberal seats currently held by Democratic nominees.
Later this week, Biden will expectedly meet with Breyer to formally announce his retirement. In addition, they might also talk about possible nominees to replace him.
This includes US Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, US District Judge J. Michelle Childs, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger. This is according to people familiar with the matter. Both Jackson and Kruger were long-time potential nominees.
Watch the CBC News video reporting that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire after this term:
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