Breyer says SCOTUS declined to hear election challenges because ‘normal criteria’ weren’t met

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said during a Fox News Sunday interview that the Supreme Court declined to hear any challenges to the results of the 2020 presidential race because none of them met the “normal criteria” that is used to decide whether the high court would hear a case. 

Former President Donald Trump had expressed disappointment during the post-election period that the Supreme Court declined to hear any of the challenges his campaign and other groups brought before it.

“No judge has had the courage, including the Supreme Court — I am so disappointed in them — no judge, including the Supreme Court of the United States, has had the courage to allow it to be heard,” Trump said in a video that was played by host Chris Wallace this week, according to Breitbart.

The Fox host then asked Breyer: “Why was that?”

“Criteria weren’t met”

According to a transcript from Breitbart, Breyer replied:

Why was it? Because they didn’t bring a case, I guess, that met the normal criteria for being heard. When we decide to take a case, there has to be four votes to take it, so I can’t go beyond that. What we do know is that there were not for votes to take it because it wasn’t taken. There are criteria, and if we don’t take a case, you know, the reason in all likelihood is that the criteria weren’t met.

Breyer didn’t elaborate on what such criteria must be met in order for a case to be heard by the Supreme Court, and legal experts have said that the criteria aren’t commonly known or easy to understand.

The court gets 10,000 petitions to hear cases each year, but only hears around 80, according to FindLaw.

Typically, they are cases where lower courts have not agreed in their rulings, or that are important in the national spotlight. They did consider the case of Bush v. Gore in 2000, but the Trump election cases were not a close decision between a few dozen or a few hundred votes in one state, like the 2000 case.

Will Breyer retire?

Most of Breyer’s interview with Wallace centered not around the Trump election cases, but around whether Breyer will retire before Republicans have a chance to retake majorities in the House and Senate next year.

Court reform was also discussed, and Breyer said he would not favor expanding the court, but might agree with term limits if they were very long. Having term limits would make it easier for him, Breyer said.

“There are many factors, in fact, quite a few,” Breyer said of his decision to stay on the court for now, according to Fox News. “And the role of court and so forth is one of them. And the situation, the institutional considerations are some. And I believe, I can’t say I take anything perfectly into account, but in my own mind, I think about those things.” Take a look:

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