Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has announced his retirement from the Supreme Court today after serving for 27 years on the court.
Justice Breyer will be leaving the court at the end of the current term, allowing President Joe Biden to announce his replacement. This will likely lead to another heated debate during the Senate confirmation process as Republicans will question President Biden’s candidate.
At age 83, Justice Breyer is the oldest member of the Court and as one of the three remaining liberal justices, his decision to retire will do little in shifting the 6-3 conservative majority on the Court.
Many liberal activists called for Justice Breyer to retire while Democrats hold the White House and Congress, a lesson that Democrats learned when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died during the Trump Administration instead of stepping down during Obama’s second term.
Justice Ginsburg was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett who comprises the conservative majority currently ruling on society shaping cases in front of the court this year. Most recently, the court has decided to take up a case on affirmative action and with many of the conservative justices, including Chief Justice Roberts, having voted against affirmative action in the past, it is likely that affirmative action will be challenged.
According to NBC News, likely contenders for the Breyer’s replacement are “federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, former Breyer law clerk, and Leondra Kruger, a justice on California’s Supreme Court.”
WIth Breyer’s retirement and the many critical court cases currently in front of the court, all eyes are on the highest court in the land with some Democrats supporting court-packing. Last December, Biden’s commission on the Supreme Court was split on whether court-packing should be implemented.
Justice Breyer earlier this year pushed back against court-packing in the Supreme Court saying that Americans should think “long and hard” about changing the number of Supreme Court justices.
However, with the potential for Roe v. Wade to be overturned this coming summer, it could change some Democrats’ minds as the power of the Supreme Court comes to the forefront of American political life. Justice Breyer’s retirement is just one of the many developments in the increasingly complex saga of the Supreme Court.