Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer made this retirement official at the White House Thursday afternoon. He reflected on his time on the court and his hopes for democracy and the generations to come.

“It’s you, my friend. It’s you, Mr. high school student. It’s you, Mr. college student. It’s you, Mr. law school students. It’s us, but it’s you,” Breyer said. “It’s that next generation and the one after that. My grandchildren and their children. They’ll determine whether the experiment (democracy) still works and, of course, I’m an optimist and I am pretty sure it will.”

The Bill Clinton-nominee spent nearly 28 years, spanning four decades, on the court. He was seen as a moderate liberal. He said he plans to step down during the Supreme Court’s summer recess in late June or early July if his successor is in place by then.

President Joe Biden confirmed that he will nominate a black woman to the high court, and said he expects that decision to come before the end of February.

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“Our intention is to not play games,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. “The President’s intention is to consult with members of both parties. And his intention is to nominate a qualified candidate who after completing a rigorous process is worthy of the excellence and decency of Breyer’s legacy.”

Senate conservatives have signaled that they will do everything in their power to try to stop a confirmation. The court already has a 6-3 conservative majority with the new editions of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanagh and Amy Coney Barrett, the three justices Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump nominated during his term.

Breyer had been under pressure to retire for a while. He is the oldest sitting judge at 83, and Democrats wanted to confirm a younger justice to the court while the party still has control over the White House and Congress.

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