US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Plans To Retire

(WABNEWS) — US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer plans to retire, giving President Joe Biden the chance to name a candidate for the job, a source familiar with the matter told WABNEWS.

Breyer, 83, has been a consistent vote liberal on the Supreme Court. He has an unflappable belief in the US system of government and a pragmatic view of the law. He has served for nearly three decades on the high court.

Breyer is expected to remain in his role until the end of the term and a replacement is confirmed.

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Breyer’s decision gives President Joe Biden his first chance to name a Supreme Court nominee. Although the election of Biden will not change the balance of the court, since Breyer will almost certainly be replaced by a liberal colleague, the new candidate is expected to be much younger and could serve on the court for decades. Currently, the Supreme Court has six conservative justices who appointed Republican presidents and three liberal justices who appointed Democrats.

Elected in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, Breyer has sought to focus the law on how it might work for the average citizen. In fact, he was quick to say that the Supreme Court could not solve all of society’s problems. He often emphasized that the court should not be considered part of the political branches, although he acknowledged that certain views might be unpopular.

“It is wrong to think of the court as just another political institution,” Breyer told an audience at Harvard Law School in 2021. “It is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior league politicians.”

He also warned that “if the public views judges as ‘robed politicians,’ their trust in the courts and in the rule of law itself can only be diminished. Thus affecting the power of the courts, including their power to act as a ‘brake ‘ in the other branches”.

On the campaign trail, Biden promised that he had a vacancy on the Supreme Court, he would fill it with a black American woman. What would represent a historical first for the high court. Among the possible candidates is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, who was confirmed last year in the powerful court of appeals based in the city of Washington. She previously also served as Breyer’s law clerk, and worked as an assistant federal public defender, in addition to serving on the US Sentencing Commission.

Another possibility would be Judge Leondra Kruger, 45, who serves on the California Supreme Court and is a veteran of the US Attorney General’s office. Members of Biden’s team have previously emphasized that they seek diversity for judicial appointments and that they are prepared to break from the norm and consider those whose legal experiences have been historically underrepresented on federal court. Including those who are public defenders and civil rights and legal aid attorneys.

The news comes as the court’s conservative majority has flexed its muscle in a blockbuster term. The justices have already heard a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade and another that could expand gun rights. Recently, Breyer joined her liberal colleagues, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, in a bitter disagreement when the conservative majority blocked Biden’s vaccination mandate for large employers. Breyer also dissented last year when the court allowed Texas’ six-week abortion ban to stand. The law is the strictest in the country and prohibits abortion before most women know they are pregnant.

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