Progressive Democrats have spent months attempting to convince U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire while there’s still time for President Joe Biden to pick a younger, liberal replacement.
According to the Washington Examiner, while Breyer has steadily resisted the pressure from his own party, in recent days he has admitted that he’s well aware of what his retirement would mean, while explaining why he’s not exactly rushing his decision to hang up the black robe.
Democrats who want the 83-year-old justice to retire now say it’s critical for Breyer to step down as soon as possible in order to give the Biden administration time to select a replacement that won’t have much of a difficult time being confirmed with the Democrats’ razor-thin majority in the Senate.
Should Breyer wait too long, and Republicans gain even a single seat in the upper chamber in the 2022 midterms, any of Biden’s ultra-liberal appointees to the high court at that time will have an exceedingly difficult — if not virtually impossible — chance at being confirmed.
“There are many things that go into a retirement decision,” Breyer told The New York Times in a recent interview. “I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die — hope not.”
Breyer, who was appointed to the high court in 1994 by former President Bill Clinton, made clear that one of his primary concerns is making sure someone won’t be appointed to replace him who might undo his legacy on the court over the past several decades, adding that such consideration “will inevitably be in the psychology” of his retirement plans.
A number of high-profile Democrats have publicly urged the SCOTUS justice to retire sooner than later. Pressuring justices to give up the gavel isn’t typically done on Capitol Hill, but times have changed.
“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.
While Breyer has made it clear to those demanding he resign that he’ll do it on his own time, it at least appears that he’s now considering the impact he could have on the party by doing so.