If a growing number of progressive pundits and politicians get their way, there could soon be a major shakeup on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Democrats are increasingly pressuring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer to retire while the party still has a slim majority on Capitol Hill with which President Joe Biden’s nominee could be easily confirmed.
“Inclined to say yes”
Any such move, however, would be highly time-sensitive not only because of next year’s midterm elections but also because the high court will soon be hearing cases dealing with a number of potentially precedent-setting issues. Among the topics set to be discussed by justices are abortion rights and gun control.
For her part, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recently replied to questions regarding whether she believes Breyer should step down from the Supreme Court bench.
During a recent interview, she said that she “would probably lean toward yes,” noting that she “would give more thought” to the issue but is “inclined to say yes.”
Thus far, Breyer has resisted calls for his retirement, claiming part of the reason is that he does not want the decision to be seen as politically polarizing.
Some left-leaning media outlets have exerted considerable effort explaining how they believe a delay in his retirement could further divide the Supreme Court, especially in a scenario where the GOP regains control of the Senate and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) delays the confirmation of his replacement until after the 2024 election.
“For the sake of our basic rights”
That outcome is not out of the realm of possibility, as McConnell himself revealed.
“We’d have to wait and see what happens,” he recently said, suggesting that he is willing to block a nomination.
Writer Elie Mystal penned an opinion article for The Nation in which he argued that “for the sake of our basic rights,” Breyer should step down soon.
“We’re all going to die, but Breyer is going to die sooner rather than later,” he warned. “And the risk that he’ll do so under a Republican administration is simply not one most progressives paying attention want to take.”
Only time will tell whether he ultimately caves to the pressure campaign, but some Democrats are also pursuing a long-shot plan to add additional seats to the Supreme Court in an effort to restructure it with a progressive majority.