News and Commentary

Justice Stephen Breyer To Retire From SCOTUS, Giving Biden A Court Pick

   DailyWire.com
US Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer poses for a portrait during French-American Business Week at the French Embassy on May 19, 2016 in Washington, DC.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring, according to NBC News.

Justice Stephen Breyer will step down from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term, according to people familiar with his thinking,” NBC News reported.

The Clinton-nominated Justice Breyer is one of three liberal justices on the Supreme Court, alongside Obama appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Breyer’s decision to retire after more than 27 years on the Supreme Court will now provide President Joe Biden with the opportunity to appoint a successor, thereby maintaining the current 6-3 split between conservative and liberal justices.

In recent years, Justice Breyer had faced multiple calls to retire by progressive activists and Democratic Congress members in order to provide President Biden with a Supreme Court pick.

“Progressive group Demand Justice launched a new ‘Breyer Retire’ campaign Friday urging U.S. Supreme Court Stephen Breyer to ‘retire now’ from the high court, putting more pressure on the liberal-leaning justice to step down while Democrats narrowly have Senate control after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death resulted in President Donald Trump choosing her successor,” Forbes reported in April, 2021. 

“We are now firmly in the window when past justices have announced their retirement, so it’s officially worrisome that Justice Breyer has not yet said that he will step down,” Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon said in a statement at the time. He called Breyer’s retirement “the only responsible choice.” 

“Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones on Friday said Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer should retire this summer, becoming the first congressional member to publicly call for the 82-year-old justice to step down,” CNN reported that same month. 

“There’s no question that Justice Breyer, for whom I have great respect, should retire at the end of this term,” Jones said when asked whether Breyer should retire before the end of Biden’s presidency.

As NBC News explained, “Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in May urging Breyer to retire that there are times ‘when the stewards of our system must put the good of an institution they love, and of the country they love, above their own interests. They have to recognize that no one, not even a brilliant justice, is irreplaceable, and that the risks presented by remaining are more than hypothetical.'”

In August 2021, Justice Breyer admitted that he would likely retire at some stage.

“There are many things that go into a retirement decision,” he told The New York Times.

Speaking of a conversation with Justice Antonin Scalia on the subject of retirement, Justice Breyer recalled Scalia’s comments that, “‘I don’t want somebody appointed who will just reverse everything I’ve done for the last 25 years.” Breyer then noted that this would “inevitably be in the psychology” of his decision regarding retirement.

“I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die — hope not,” Justice Breyer explained.

“There are a lot of blurred things there, and there are many considerations,” he said of a retirement decision. “They form a whole. I’ll make a decision.”

“I don’t like making decisions about myself,” Justice Breyer said.

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

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