Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently announced his retirement, as has been confirmed by multiple sources, giving Biden his first opportunity to place a justice of his choosing on the high court.
A source close to Breyer explained that the justice will be stepping down at the end of the Supreme Court’s current term this summer.
Breyer, 83, has been the subject of speculation as onlookers have predicted his retirement. Liberal activists were calling on the justice to retire the moment that Biden was inaugurated, however, sources close to the justice said that he is retiring entirely on his own terms and was not pressured to leave.
Breyer was originally appointed by former Democrat President Bill Clinton. His replacement must be confirmed by the Senate, which is currently split 50-50, with the Democrats holding a tie-breaker vote in Vice President Kamala Harris. That technical majority has become questionable, however, with defecting moderate Democrats Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) recently breaking with party lines on a variety of issues.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on Wednesday that Breyer’s replacement must be “confirmed by the full United States Senate with all deliberate speed.”
When asked, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Oval Office has no comment on Breyer’s departure as of yet.
During Biden’s presidential campaign, he promised that if given the opportunity, he’d nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, narrowing the playing field significantly. A potential option is D.C. Circuit Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson, a well-known progressive favorite who was nominated by Biden last year.
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) was the first to call on the president to fulfill his promise of appointing a Black woman to replace Breyer.
Reminding everyone of Biden’s former campaign promise, she said: “The Court should reflect the diversity of our country, and it is unacceptable that we have never in our nation’s history had a Black woman sit on the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Meanwhile, Republican activists are already preparing to oppose whoever Biden picks.
Author: Christine Jenkins