Justice Stephen Breyer says he hasn’t decided when to step down from Supreme Court


Washington –Justice Stephen Breyer, the dean of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, said he had not made a decision on when to retire, his first public comments on the matter since progressive groups started pushing him to resign to allow President Biden to appoint a replacement.

In one interview with CNNBreyer, who turns 83 in August, said the decision would depend on two factors: “Primarily, of course, health. Second, the court. When asked directly if he had made the decision to step down, Breyer replied: “No”.

Breyer’s comments come amid months-long campaign of progressives urging him to retire and allow the president to appoint a successor while Democrats hold a slim and fragile majority in the Senate. While his retirement would not change the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court, since Breyer is likely to be replaced by a fellow liberal lawyer, it would position Mr Biden to appoint a new judge who can sit for decades. The Tories on the court currently hold a 6-3 majority.

Justice Stephen Breyer sits during a group photo of Supreme Court Justices in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021.

ERIN SCHAFF / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

The president has repeatedly vowed to appoint the first black female Supreme Court judge if a High Court position arises during his presidency. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, operated by Mr. Biden to the influential United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is considered one of the leading candidates for the high court. Jackson, who was confirmed to DC circuit in June, clerk for Breyer.

Breyer served on the court for 27 years and became the most senior Liberal judge following the death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg last year. He is the author of majority opinions in two high-profile cases during the Court’s last term: the first save the affordable care law of a Republican-led effort to dismantle it and the second setting limits on the ability of schools to punish students for an off-campus speech.

The judge told CNN that his new tenure in internal court discussions “made a difference to me… It’s not a fight. It’s not sarcasm. It’s deliberation.”

In April, Breyer also pushed back calls from some progressives to expand the court to add more liberal judges, say in a speech that proponents of reforms such as “court packaging” should “think long and hard before embodying these changes in law”.

“If the public regards judges as politicians in robes, their confidence in the courts and in the rule of law itself can only diminish, diminishing the power of the court, including its power to act as a” control “On other branches,” he said.


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