Talk of 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer retiring from the Supreme Court is ramping up as the court’s current term comes to a close, The Hill reports.
Analysts who spoke with The Hill predict Breyer could potentially step down as soon as this summer, giving President Joe Biden the chance to appoint a similarly left-leaning justice to take his place.
The speculation comes as Democrats are desperate to avoid a repeat of what happened in the fall of last year, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death gave then-President Donald Trump the chance to solidify a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for decades.
If Breyer fails to retire before then and Democrats lose control of the Senate in the 2022 midterms, Republicans could block Biden from naming a replacement for the 82-year-old jurist — or any other justice who may opt to step down in the years that follow.
Report: Liberals want Breyer gone
Indeed, it seems Breyer has worn out his welcome with Democrats, particularly as he has condemned progressive efforts to “pack” the Supreme Court. As an obstacle to the radical left’s agenda, Breyer has got to go.
“I’m sure Breyer realizes what a blow Justice Ginsburg’s non-retirement was to the possibility of ever having an even mildly progressive [Supreme] Court in our lifetime,” Capital University law professor Dan Kobil told The Hill.
“And that describes Breyer — mildly progressive,” Kobil added. “So I think he would not want to double down on what many view as her miscalculation.”
Dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, Erwin Chemerinsky, said time is running out.
“If one Democrat leaves for whatever reason, the Democrats could lose the Senate,” Chemerinsky told The Hill. “For Breyer to have someone with his values and views replace him, retiring this summer could be crucial. If the Republicans take the Senate, they will not confirm a Biden nominee.”
Firmly in conservatives’ hands
Breyer, for his part, has so far given no indication that he plans to step down, as the Washington Examiner notes.
Of course, even if Justice Breyer retires this summer and President Biden can nominate his replacement, that still leaves the Supreme Court at a 6–3 tilt, with conservatives in the majority.
Democrats know their only chance is to add justices to the bench, which is why they’re pushing so hard to “pack” the high court. Their philosophy: If you can’t win the game, just change the rules.