Just weeks after now-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the high court, another elderly justice — Stephen Breyer — has begun hinting at plans for retirement.
In a recent interview with Slate, the 82-year-old justice said that he’s begun planning for retirement, though he did not give a timeline as to when he will give up his seat on the court.
In response to a question of whether or not he supports term limits for SCOTUS Justices, Breyer replied that the question was “too politically controversial,” despite his support for the concept as recently as 2016.
“Eventually I’ll retire, sure I will,” Breyer added. “And it’s hard to know exactly when.”
Late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also had a difficult time discussing retiring from the court, eventually passing while still carrying out her duties on the judiciary.
Ginsburg’s refusal to consider retirement during Barack Obama’s administration was controversial, and the left is already increasing pressure on Breyer to consider retirement during a potential Joe Biden administration.
Ginsburg’s death left a vacancy quickly filled by Donald Trump, a mistake that leftists are not likely to allow Republicans to take advantage of again.
However, Breyer warned in October that Supreme Court Justices do not bow to political pressure to retire, declaring during a Q&A hosted by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute that “The more the political fray is hot and intense, the more we stay out of it.”
Like Ginsburg, Breyer has indicated in the past that he will likely stick it out into his later years, saying in May that he’s not thinking about retiring soon because “I enjoy what I’m doing.”
The immediate future
The most pressing issue at hand in the immediate future in regard to the Supreme Court is not an impending retirement, but rather an impending squabble over a new Trump campaign lawsuit challenging the outcome of the 2020 election.
According to the Washington Times on Monday, “Mr. Trump’s legal team has asked the justices for an order by Christmas Eve to proceed with expedited consideration of the campaign’s long-shot challenge to the election results in Pennsylvania.”
Despite holding a Conservative majority, thanks to Trump’s most recent appointment, the Supreme Court has been reluctant to take on an election challenge from the GOP or the Trump legal team.