Democrats ready to fill Supreme Court vacancy, but no justices seem ready to retire

Leading Democrats recently made clear that they’re ready to confirm a any Supreme Court nominees President Joe Biden might make. However, the evidence suggests that they might have to wait a lot longer than they would like. 

The Epoch Times reported that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer brought up the issue of judicial appointments in a note to his colleges last week.

“Senate Democrats stand ready to expeditiously fill any potential vacancies on the Supreme Court should they arise,” the New York senator declared on July 9.

“I think it’s highly unlikely”

The Times observed that while Schumer gave no indication as to which of the Supreme Court’s current 9 members might be replaced, he was likely referring to Justice Stephen Breyer.

Through out his nearly 3 decades on the nation’s highest court, Breyer has been a reliably liberal vote. Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, he will turn 83 this August.

Should he step down or pass away, selecting Breyer’s replacement will fall to President Biden. Yet recent comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell indicate that getting him confirmed could prove difficult if Republicans do well in the 2022 midterm elections.

“I think it’s highly unlikely—in fact, no, I don’t think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,” the Times quoted McConnell as saying last month about whether he would vote to confirm another justice in 2023.

Democrats call on Breyer to make way for someone else

Those facts have some lead some lawmakers to demand that Breyer step down now while Democrats are still in control of the Senate.

One of them is Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen, who was quoted as saying, “Justice Breyer, it’s time to put the Court’s long-term membership ahead of your long and distinguished career.”

“Justice Breyer is wonderful – on SCOTUS & before that on 1st Circuit,” California Rep. Jared Huffman expressed similar thoughts in May, tweeting that “Justice Breyer is wonderful – on SCOTUS & before that on 1st Circuit.”

“He once judged the New England regional finals of the National Moot Court competition and picked yours truly as ‘best oralist,’ so I have a soft spot there,” Huffman continued. “But for goodness’ sake HE SHOULD RETIRE NOW.”

For his part, Breyer has given no indication that he is planning to resign, with Bloomberg reporting that he has hired 4 new clerks to serve during the court’s next term.

 

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