Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer To Retire, Giving Biden First Pick
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer plans to retire at the end of the current term, according to sources close to Breyer.
The Bill Clinton-nominee is the oldest justice on the bench at 83 and served on the court for 27 years. His retirement will allow President Joe Biden to nominate his first justice, who he has said will be a black woman.
“We talked about the Supreme Court — I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a black woman on the Supreme Court to make sure we, in fact, get everyone represented,” Biden said in February 2020.
Liberal activists have been calling for Breyer’s retirement with Biden in office and Democrats holding both houses of Congress. They believe that the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg stayed too long. Her passing in the final weeks of former President Donald Trump‘s administration gave him a third nominee to tilt the bench further in favor of the conservatives 6-3 supermajority.
Some have also suggested court-packing, adding more justices to the bench, which Breyer is a staunch opponent of. He encouraged those who support it to “think long and hard before embodying those changes in the law.” Breyer said that court-packing might undermine the nation’s confidence in the court.
Breyer’s interpretation of the law was moderate-liberal. He believes that the law should evolve to be applicable to the times, which often put him at odds with the conservative justices who believed the law should be interpreted as it was written at the time.
“The reason that I do that is because law in general, I think, grows out of communities of people who have some problems they want to solve,” he said in an interview.
A formal announcement of Breyer’s retirement could come as soon as tomorrow.