Stephen Breyer to retire from Supreme Court, paving way for Biden appointment

Stephen Breyer to retire from Supreme Court, paving way for Biden appointment

Breyer is one of the three remaining liberal justices, and his decision to retire after more than 27 years on the court allows President Joe Biden to appoint a successor who could serve for decades and, in the short term, maintain the current 6-3 split between conservative and liberal justices.

At 83, Breyer is the court’s oldest member. Liberal activists have urged him for months to retire while Democrats hold both the White House and the Senate — a position that could change after the midterm elections in November. They contended that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stayed too long despite her history of health problems and should have stepped down during the Obama administration.

Ginsburg’s death from cancer at 87 allowed then-President Donald Trump to appoint her successor, Amy Coney Barrett, moving the court further to the right. An appointment by Biden could keep Breyer’s seat on the liberal side of the court for years or decades to come.

Biden said in brief remarks to the press on Wednesday that he will leave it to Breyer to formally announce the retirement.

“Let him make whatever statement he’s going to make and I’ll be happy to talk about it later,” he said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had earlier tweeted a statement, saying, “It has always been the decision of any Supreme Court Justice if and when they decide to retire, and how they want to announce it, and that remains the case today.” The White House had no additional details or information to share, she added.

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