According to multiple reports on Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will step down at the end of the current term.
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The current judicial term will end in June or early July.
There have been calls for Breyer to resign to allow President Joe Biden to nominate his replacement. Breyer is the third remaining liberal justice.
Despite her health issues, liberal activists complained Ginsburg stayed on the Supreme Court too long during the Obama Administration and should have stepped down. President Donald Trump filled her seat when she died in 2020 with Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative, thus further right-swinging the court.
With Breyer’s retirement, Biden can appoint a successor who could serve for several decades. With Biden’s appointment, the high court will remain 6-3 divided between conservatives and liberals.
The 83-year-old Breyer is the court’s oldest member. Bill Clinton appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1994.
There was no immediate comment from the White House on the report.
‘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. We have no additional details or information to share from @WhiteHouse,’ press secretary Jen Psaki posted to Twitter.
By Oct. 3, Biden is expected to have nominated a successor who can be ready to serve when the new term of the Supreme Court begins.
Since the president is a former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, he understands how it works.
Democrat control of the Senate further helps to pave the way for his nominee. Breyer’s retirement coincides with Republican gains in polls ahead of midterm elections.
As reported by the New York Times in August, Justice Breyer was trying to decide when to step down.
‘There are many things that go into a retirement decision,’ he said.
Afterward, he remembered the advice given by Justice Antonin Scalia.
‘He said, ‘I don’t want somebody appointed who will just reverse everything I’ve done for the last 25 years,’ Breyer. ‘That will inevitably be in the psychology’ of his decision, he said.
‘I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die — hope not,’ he remarked.
As a candidate for president, Biden promised to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court.
Among the likely candidates are federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and Justice Leondra Kruger of the California Supreme Court.
As a law clerk to Justice Breyer, Jackson, 51, was confirmed by the Senate 53-44 in June to the federal bench. Biden appointed her to succeed Merrick Garland, who left the appeals court to become Attorney General.
As a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review, she earned a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1996. Harvard-Radcliffe College awarded her an A.B., magna cum laude, in Government in 1992.
Jackson worked as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, DC from 2005 to 2007 and handled cases before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. As an appellate lawyer, Jackson worked for Morrison & Foerster from 2007 to 2010.
Jackson was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as Vice Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. During her tenure on the commission, the Sentencing Guidelines were retroactively amended to reduce the guideline range for crack cocaine offenses, and the ‘drugs minus two’ amendment was implemented, which reduced drug crimes by two offense levels.
The 45-year-old Kruger is a graduate of Harvard University with a magna cum laude in Arts. She earned her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.
In 2003 and 2004 she served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
In 2007, she was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School. She worked for Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr in Washington, D.C. from 2004 through 2006.
From 2007 to 2013, Kruger served as the United States Solicitor General’s assistant and the Principal Deputy Solicitor General. Over the years, she argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court, as well as dozens of others, including the landmark case defending the Affordable Care Act, National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius.
Kruger was appointed deputy assistant attorney general in 2013 in the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice.
Even though she had no prior judicial experience prior to her appointment, Governor Jerry Brown appointed her to the state’s Supreme Court in 2014.
Breyer’s expected retirement comes as Nancy Pelosi, who at 81 is two years younger than the Justice, announced Tuesday that she would run again for the House.
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She is running for her 19th term as Democratic leader because ‘nothing less is at stake than our democracy.’
‘While we have made progress, much more needs to be done to improve people’s lives. Our democracy is at risk because of assaults on the truth, the assault on the U.S. Capitol, and the state-by-state assault on voting rights,’ she said.
‘This election is crucial. But as we say, we don’t agonize, we organize, and that is why I’m running for re-election to Congress and respectfully seek your support,’ Pelosi continued.
Republicans are widely expected to sweep this year’s midterms and take back the House and possibly the Senate.