Justice Breyer still weighing ‘complex’ decision on when to retire from SCOTUS

Stephen Breyer, the 83-year-old Supreme Court justice first appointed to the bench by former President Bill Clinton more than two decades ago, is continuing to resist calls for his retirement from those on the left who are afraid to repeat the circumstances that transpired following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last fall.

According to the Washington Examiner, Breyer is remaining “steadfast” in his opposition to calls for him to step down while President Joe Biden still has the chance to name a replacement for him.

“Until I die”

The justice’s latest comments on the topic came during an interview with NPR.

“I’m only going to say that I’m not going to go beyond what I previously said on the subject, and that is that I do not believe I should stay on the Supreme Court, or want to stay on the Supreme Court, until I die,” Breyer said, according to the Examiner.

“And when exactly I should retire, or will retire, has many complex parts to it,” the justice added. “I think I’m aware of most of them, and I am, and will consider them.”

A key factor

Breyer’s comments echo similar remarks he made in an interview last month with The New York Times.

“There are many things that go into a retirement decision,” Breyer said. “I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die — hope not.”

In the Times interview, Breyer did admit that who would replace him would be a factor in his deliberation over retirement, even mentioning a quote from the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

“He said, ‘I don’t want somebody appointed who will just reverse everything I’ve done for the last 25 years,'” Breyer told the Times, adding that this “will inevitably be in the psychology” of his decision-making.

“The political reality”

As the Examiner noted, many on the left are concerned that if Breyer doesn’t retire soon, it would open the door for a Republican president to ultimately name his replacement — or for a Republican Senate to block a Biden nominee, should the GOP take back the upper chamber in the midterm elections.

For now, however, it seems the message isn’t getting through to Breyer, try as Democrats might.

“Justice Breyer has been a great justice, and he recognizes, I am sure, the political reality of our having control of the Senate now,” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) said earlier this year, according to the Examiner. “But elections always have risks, so, hopefully, he’s aware of that risk, and he sees it accordingly.”

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