Leftists fight about whether liberal SCOTUS justices ought to retire

 December 24, 2022

The Washington Examiner reports that members of the political left are now arguing about whether liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan ought to retire. 

What appears to have gotten the argument going is a recent article published by Vox's Ian Millhiser.

The article is titled, "Sotomayor and Kagan need to think about retiring."


Millhiser begins his article with an attack on the late Justice Ruth Ginsberg, saying, "we have now lived with the consequences of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s late-life arrogance for more than two years."

This is the key to Millhiser's entire argument.

For those not familiar with what happened, Ginsburg, despite pressure from the political left, refused to retire when Barack Obama was president. She continued to serve on the court until she died in 2020, which allowed then-President Donald Trump to replace her, a liberal, with a conservative, namely, Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

The political left, including Millhiser, has held this against Ginsburg ever since - even after her passing.

Millhiser's argument

Now, at seemingly every opportunity, the political left uses the Ginsburg situation to argue that liberal justices ought to retire early while Democrats have control of the presidency and the U.S. Senate in order to ensure that they can replace one liberal justice with another liberal justice.

This is essentially what Millhiser argues in his article.

Millhiser writes:

Barring extraordinary events, Democrats will control the White House and the Senate for the next two years. They are unlikely to control it for longer than that. The 2024 Senate map is so brutal for Democrats that they would likely need to win a landslide in the national popular vote just to break even. Unless they stanch the damage then, some forecasts suggest that Democrats won’t have a realistic shot at a Senate majority until 2030 or 2032. And even those forecasts may be too optimistic for Democrats.

Millhiser adds, "If Sotomayor and Kagan do not retire within the next two years, in other words, they could doom the entire country to live under a 7–2 or even an 8–1 Court controlled by an increasingly radicalized Republican Party’s appointees."

Will it happen?

We have already seen this argument work once with the recent retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer.

Given their age, though, it is hard to imagine either Sotomayor or Kagan retiring anytime soon. But, one can never say for sure.

Many leftists do appear to agree with Millhiser, and, following the publication of his piece, many renewed the call for term limits for the justices.

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