Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has faced mounting pressure to step down in time to allow President Joe Biden to nominate his replacement while the Democratic Party still controls the U.S. Senate.
According to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, recent reports signal that the 82-year-old justice is doing exactly that.
“Thank you to Justice Breyer for 30 years of distinguished service on the bench, and for his admirable decision to retire now,” the former first lady stated in a tweet.
“Dedicated to fairness and justice for all”
Clinton went on to salute the justice for a “career dedicated to fairness and justice for all.”
Citing “people familiar with his thinking,” NBC News reported that Breyer is expected to step down from the bench when the current term ends this summer.
A more formal announcement from the justice could be coming soon, with reports noting that he is set to appear alongside Biden at a White House event later this week.
Upon Breyer officially announcing his intentions, the White House can get to work choosing a nominee to replace him.
“Commitment to nominating a Black woman”
In addition to the likelihood that Biden will put forward a progressive judge, thus maintaining the court’s current 6-3 conservative majority, he has also pledged to nominate a Black woman if given the opportunity to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.
Although the president has not indicated whether he has a shortlist of candidates, a few names have been attracting some increased media attention recently.
Among the likely contenders is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former Breyer clerk who was nominated Biden to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — a vacancy created when Merrick Garland was named U.S. attorney general.
Although the news surrounding Breyer was a primary topic during Wednesday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki did her best to avoid specifics, noting that no formal announcements had yet been made.
“The president has stated and reiterated his commitment to nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court and certainly stands by that,” she said, later noting that Biden “has every intention, as he said before, 0f running for re-election and for running for re-election with Vice President Harris on the ticket as his partner.”