Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) stunned Democrats this week when she came out against efforts to pressure Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer into retirement.
According to Fox News, Feinstein told CNN on Thursday that it would be a “great loss” for the high court bench if Breyer stepped down. Her comments come amid calls from many on the left for the 82-year-old jurist to retire while Joe Biden is still president, and while Democrats still have control of the Senate to confirm SCOTUS nominees.
Feinstein, for her part, turns 88 next month, according to Mediaite. She’s the Senate’s oldest member.
Breyer, appointed by then-President Bill Clinton, is the oldest member of the Supreme Court bench.
“My general belief”
His retirement has become a particular point of concern for liberals in the months since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last fall of complications from pancreatic cancer. Her death gave President Donald Trump the chance to appoint a third conservative judge to the bench.
The confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett effectively solidified the court’s conservative tilt for decades. But while Dems are hoping to avoid a repeat of that scenario, it seems Breyer isn’t ready to call his career quits just yet.
And Feinstein isn’t pushing him.
“My general belief is, if a person is serving with integrity and working hard and producing for whatever the constituency is, that’s what these jobs are all about,” she told CNN, according to Fox.
A look ahead
Sen. Feinstein certainly understands the pressure Breyer is under. Many liberal activists have similarly called for her to step down to make room for a member of a minority community to represent California in the Senate.
She’s resisted those calls, though, as has Breyer. And like Feinstein, the White House has been hesitant to push anyone out.
Unfortunately for Democrats, no one is getting any younger, and reports suggest Republicans are on the verge of seizing power in the federal legislature. If the GOP takes back the Senate in 2022 — or even wins the White House in 2024 — it would put a big wrench in Dems’ plans to enact radical changes across the country.
You can bet they’ll be fighting tooth and nail to make sure that doesn’t happen. Only time will tell, however, if Feinstein and Breyer are willing to play along.