Progressive lawmakers desperately want U.S Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire, but even after public pressure campaigns and undoubtedly backdoor suggestions, Breyer shrugged off the calls.
However, according to the Washington Examiner, in a recent interview with The New York Times, Breyer, 83, seemed to relent to some degree, admitting that he’s currently pondering who he would want to see as his successor, adding that it’s important to have someone who won’t erase the legacy he’ll undoubtedly leave on the high court.
“There are many things that go into a retirement decision,” Breyer told the Times. “I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die — hope not.”
The urgency by many in his own party for the seasoned justice to retire comes at a time when Democrats still hold a majority — albeit razor-thin — in Congress, not to mention a Democrat in the White House.
With Republicans widely predicted to capture majority control of the House in 2022, the odds are looking favorable that Republicans could also have a realistic chance of taking control of the Senate, as well. Should that happen, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) once again lead the upper chamber, Democrats would essentially be hamstrung when the time comes to replace Breyer, for whatever reason.
The sense of urgency also comes on the heels of former President Donald Trump having the ability to appoint an unprecedented three justices to the high court, which ultimately gave the conservative wing of the high court a strong, 6–3 majority.
“Justice Breyer has been a great justice, and he recognizes, I am sure, the political reality of our having control of the Senate now. But elections always have risks, so, hopefully, he’s aware of that risk, and he sees it accordingly,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said earlier this year.
Breyer has also pushed back on the controversial idea that emerged last year of “packing” the Supreme Court using legislation to expand the number of justices who sit on the SCOTUS bench.
It’s clear that Democrats are worried sick about the future of the Supreme Court, especially as it’s currently dominated by conservatives. Only time will tell if they’ll play any dirty tricks to gain an advantage, but time is quickly running out as the 2022 midterm elections near.