Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will reportedly retire at the end of the term, paving the way for Biden to fill the vacant seat.
Majority Senate leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Wednesday relayed the announcement that 83-year-old Breyer will step down following the end of the term after nearly 28 years on the court. Schumer added that Biden’s nominee will be “confirmed by the full United States Senate with all deliberate speed.”
The announcement comes as a curveball after the Clinton nominee dodged calls in 2021 from Democrats and left-leaning groups to resign during Biden’s first year in office.
Despite the growing effort for Breyer to evacuate the seat, the justice affirmed in September during an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that he does not plan to submit to the demand but does not intend to sit on the court for the rest of his life.
The Hill points out that Breyer’s sudden decision to retire is known as a trend called “strategic retirement,” justices step down when the White House is controlled by the same party that nominated them.
Many Democrats and liberals fear the cautionary tale of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in 2020 and replaced by conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, would repeat itself if Breyer did not step-down during Biden’s reign.
“I’m sure Breyer realizes what a blow Justice Ginsburg’s non-retirement was to the possibility of ever having an even mildly progressive Court in our lifetime,” Dan Kobil, a law professor at Capital University said. “And that describes Breyer — mildly progressive.”
Despite liberals insisting Breyer is “mildly progressive,” Breyer’s Martin-Quinn score for the 2020-2021 term made him the second-most liberal justice at the time.