Oldest Supreme Court Justice Under Pressure to Retire

Some want Stephen Breyer, 82, to clear way for younger liberal
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2021 7:26 AM CDT
Updated May 8, 2021 2:30 PM CDT
Oldest Supreme Court Justice Under Pressure to Retire
In this April 23, 2021, photo, Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer sits during a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington.   (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

President Biden could have a Supreme Court seat to fill come summer. There is "immense urgency" among progressive Democrats for liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who was nominated to the court by President Clinton in 1994, to retire after the court wraps up its current term around the end of June, reports NPR. There have already been calls for the 82-year-old to step down so Biden can nominate a new liberal justice while Democrats hold a slight Senate majority needed for confirmation. This follows Republican President Trump's three Supreme Court nominations, which cemented a 6-3 conservative majority. "[Breyer] recognizes, I am sure, the political reality of our having control of the Senate now," Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal told the Washington Post last month. "But elections always have risks, so hopefully he's aware of that risk and he sees it accordingly."

Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones is calling for Breyer to retire this summer so he can be replaced by a like-minded justice, per CNN. He notes former Democratic President Obama "could have had the opportunity to appoint more justices" if "senior-in-age justices" allowed him the opportunity, per NPR. That could be a reference to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom some Democrats believe should've retired under Obama, particularly during the first half of his term when Democrats held the Senate. But Ginsburg was ill. Breyer "has had no known health scares" and still seems to enjoy the job, per the Hill. Regardless, the group Demand Justice drove around the Supreme Court last month in a billboard truck that read, "Breyer, retire," and referenced Biden's pledge to nominate a Black woman to the court. The White House has said the decision to retire is up to Breyer. (Read more Stephen Breyer stories.)

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