Democrat-led calls for liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire are picking up pace, Fox News reports.
The Democrats have been pressuring Biden to retire for some time now. What they are looking to avoid is another situation like the one that happened with the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ginsburg refused to retire when a Democrat was president, and her passing away last year allowed President Donald Trump, a Republican, to name her replacement, which he did, choosing the conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
The Democrats want Breyer to retire now so that he can be replaced by President Joe Biden with a liberal justice who would be confirmed by the Democrat-led Senate. The worry is that the Republicans can take over in forthcoming elections, which would allow them to block a potential Biden Supreme Court nominee.
This most recent call for Breyer to retire began over the weekend when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was asked whether Breyer ought to retire. In response, she said that it is “something that I’d think about but I would probably lean toward yes. But yes, you’re asking me this question so I’ve just — I would give more thought to it, but I’m inclined to say yes.”
Then, these calls, from Democrats, really picked up after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested on Monday that, if the Republicans do retake the Senate, that he would block a potential Biden Supreme Court nominee.
“We’d have to wait and see what happens,” McConnell said, adding, “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.”
Now, a number of other Democrats are calling upon Breyer to retire.
“The right time”
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on Monday said that he is “not comfortable” telling the members of the Supreme Court when they ought to retire. But, he added, “I — my secret heart is that some members, [particularly] the 82-year-old Stephen Breyer, will maybe have that thought on his own, that he should not let his seat be subject to a potential theft, that that was not the type of damage he’d like to see happen to the court.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), however, was not quite so reluctant.
“Well, now would be the right time,” Whitehouse said, referring to Breyer’s retirement. “And if I believed it would do any good to say that, then I’d probably say that. But, you know, you get on the Supreme Court and you get those robes and you make your own decisions, and I don’t know that senators trying to tell you what to do actually makes that decision easier, rather than harder.”
Breyer’s most recent remark on whether he has any plans to retire came last year. He said during an interview that he doesn’t “really think about [retirement],” adding “I enjoy what I’m doing.”