Democratic New York Rep. Mondaire Jones joined other progressives Friday in calling for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire while President Joe Biden is still in office.
“There’s no question that Justice Breyer, for whom I have great respect, should retire at the end of this term. My goodness, have we not learned our lesson?” Jones said during an interview with Cheddar News, according to The Hill.
Jones was reportedly referring to hopes that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would remain on the nation’s highest court until former President Donald Trump left office, after she declined to retire during Barack Obama’s presidency. Ginsburg died in the fall of 2020 at age 87 from complications of pancreatic cancer, allowing Trump to put a third conservative justice on the bench, as The Hill noted.
Breyer is 82, but has had no major health scares or bouts with cancer, unlike his late colleague. Biden, for his part, has said he will let Breyer decide when to retire. (How magnanimous of him.)
“Eventually I’ll retire”
In reality, Biden could not force Breyer to retire, but has pledged not the put pressure on him, like Democrats including Jones have been.
“[The president] believes that’s a decision Justice Breyer will make when he decides it’s time to no longer serve on the Supreme Court,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier this month, according to Politico.
The justice said in December that he did not plan to remain on the court “for life,” but was unsure of when he would retire.
“I mean, eventually I’ll retire, sure I will,” Breyer said, adding that “it’s hard to know exactly when,” according to Fox News.
Biden’s plans for SCOTUS
While Biden will be in office through 2024, the congressional midterms in 2022 could make it harder to get a progressive on the court if the Senate flips back to Republican control, as some suspect may happen.
Biden has already promised to nominate a Black woman to the court if given a chance, a prospect that has leftists salivating. There has never been a Black female justice on the high court’s bench before.
But we saw how well Biden did finding a quality candidate that fit that same bill for vice president — not very. Kamala Harris has already embarrassed herself with her refusal to deal with the ongoing crisis at the U.S. southern border, even when directly asked by Biden to do so.
It seems as long as we break “glass ceilings,” it doesn’t really matter to the left whether the candidate is any good or even qualified for the job.