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Justice Stephen Breyer To Retire – Mother Jones


Justice Stephen Breyer To Retire – Mother Jones

Associate Justice Stephen Breyer sits during a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, April 23, 2021. Erin Schaff/New York Times via AP, Pool

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After nearly three decades on the US Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, is stepping down, paving the way for President Joe Biden to make his first nomination to the high court, NBC News reports.

Breyer has been under heavy pressure since the November 2020 election to retire so that a Democratic president would have ample time to replace him, lest he end up like the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg’s refusal to retire during the Obama administration allowed President Donald Trump to replace her in 2020 with Amy Coney Barrett, a 49-year-old arch conservative whose ascension to the court threatens the future of abortion rights and other laws geared toward gender equality.

During his nearly three decades on the court, Breyer has proven to be a pragmatic and solid moderate, though as the court has tilted rightward in the past decade, he has become known more for his position in the court’s liberal voting bloc. A reliable defender of abortion rights, he’s also known for showing far more respect for the work of legislative bodies than many of his conservative colleagues, a trait seen as the result of his experience helping the sausage get made in Congress.

Liberals had been outspoken in their insistence that Breyer retire early in Biden’s tenure while Democrats have 50 votes in the Senate. They are hoping to avoid a repeat of 2016, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama’s effort to replace Justice Antonin Scalia with current Attorney General Merrick Garland, when Scalia died at age 79. A Business Insider columnist wrote a piece entitled, “Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Should Just Retire Already,” noting that the justice is “really old.” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California Berkley law school, who tried to get both Ginsburg and Breyer to…

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