Justice Stephen Breyer is responding to calls from Democrats who want him to resign to make sure President Joe Biden has time to place another liberal to the Supreme Court. At 83, Breyer is the oldest justice on the high court. In an interview with The New York Times for his new book “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics,” Breyer at long last addressed his future saying, “There are many things that go into a retirement decision.” The Times writes:
He recalled approvingly something Justice Antonin Scalia had told him.
“He said, ‘I don’t want somebody appointed who will just reverse everything I’ve done for the last 25 years,’” Justice Breyer said during a wide-ranging interview on Thursday. “That will inevitably be in the psychology” of his decision, he said.
“I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die — hope not,” he said.
The concerns are painfully obvious to Democrats who already have a 6-3 disadvantage on the court. What they don’t want is a replay of Mitch McConnell’s antics when he was the majority leader in the senate, refusing to consider then President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland because it was an election year.
Last month Breyer told CNN that he had no retirement date in mind and it’s clear this still isn’t a subject he wants to talk much about. According to the Times:
He was in a characteristically expansive mood, but he was not eager to discuss retirement. Indeed, his publisher had circulated ground rules for the interview, saying he would not respond to questions about his plans. But he seemed at pains to make one thing clear: He is a realist.
“I’ve said that there are a lot of considerations,” Justice Breyer said. “I don’t think any member of the court is living in Pluto or something.”
While he didn’t address specifics of retirement, his new remarks seem to show he is thinking more about it. In the meantime, the calls for him to step aside ASAP continue.