Recent months have seen increased speculation about the possible retirement of liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and this weekend, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) appeared to join the chorus of those urging him to step down in order to guarantee an ideologically similar replacement, according to The Hill.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union with host Dana Bash, the far-left congresswoman was asked if she was on the same page as many of her colleagues who believe that the 82-year-old Breyer should depart the bench to guarantee that his replacement could be nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Ocasio-Cortez told Bash, “You know, I – it’s something that I’d think about, but I would probably lean towards yes. But yes, you’re asking me this question, so I’ve just – I would give more thought to it, but, but I’m inclined to say yes” to the notion that it’s time for Breyer to go.
The New York Democrat was also asked for her opinion on comments made in April by Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) who argued that “there’s no question” about the need for Breyer to retire so that a like-minded replacement can be installed. Ocasio-Cortez simply said she believes that “Rep. Jones has a point.”
At the time, The Hill noted, Jones rhetorically wondered whether liberals had “not learned [their] lesson” from the refusal of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to strategically depart the bench during the Obama administration, a fact which ultimately led to her replacement being nominated by former President Donald Trump instead.
Jones’ take is in sync with positions expressed by a number of liberal interest groups in recent months, including Demand Justice, whose executive director Brian Fallon has pulled no punches on the topic. “People need to stop being sheepish about this,” he asserted earlier this year, according to Politico, adding, “The longer that goes by without word from Breyer that intends to step down at the end of this term, the more reckless it is.”
“Mitch McConnell was not above directly calling judges to urge them to retire last year,” Fallon continued, suggesting that lawmakers “should not be so reluctant to state the obvious of what is at risk if Breyer does not take this opportunity to step down.”
Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Jones are certainly not the only high-profile legislators indicating their preference that Breyer make way for new blood at the high court, as Senate Judiciary Committee member Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has also indicated his confidence that the octogenarian justice “is well familiar with the way judicial appointments work” and believes, as Politico further noted, that “he has in mind the best interests of the country and will make the right decision.”
Having previously cautioned against liberal attempts to engineer the composition of the court to further political aims, Breyer has yet to provide any indication of whether he plans to grant the wishes of so many on the left, or whether he will determine his destiny on a timeline of his own choosing.