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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 8, 2024

Supreme Court Justice Breyer to retire

Brookings+presents+the+First+Annual+justice+Stephen+Breyer+Lecture+on+International+Law+with+moderator+Abiodun+Williams+of+the+Academic+Council+on+the+United+Nations+and+Justice+Stephen+Breyer+Thursday%2C+April+3%2C+2014+in+Washington.+%28Sharon+Farmer%2Fsfphotoworks%29
Photo by Photo by Sharon Farmer

Brookings presents the First Annual justice Stephen Breyer Lecture on International Law with moderator Abiodun Williams of the Academic Council on the United Nations and Justice Stephen Breyer Thursday, April 3, 2014 in Washington. (Sharon Farmer/sfphotoworks)

After serving on the Supreme Court for more than 27 years, Justice Stephen Breyer will vacate his seat at the end of his current term, according to sources close to the justice, announced by NBC News. Breyer was nominated as a justice by former President Bill Clinton in August 1994 and now serves as the oldest Democratic justice at 83 years old on the 6-3 Republican-majority court.
With Democratic control of the Senate, many have urged Breyer to step down for Biden to nominate a new Democrat. With a total of six Republicans on the court, the replacement of Breyer with another Democrat like himself will not change the balance in the court, but could be a step in the direction for a younger Supreme Court. Without Brewer, the Justices have an average age of 62, and five of the remaining eight justices were nominated in the last five years, according to the New York Times.
Unlike typical justices who retire when a successor is found, sources say Breyer will finish out the term filled with high stakes cases including gun rights, religious freedom and abortion. In his years on the court, he was a liberal vote with the exception of issues regarding administrative law, in which he used his expertise background to weigh his decisions.
“The replacement of Justice Breyer, who is 83, with a staunchly liberal nominee could also widen the gap between the court’s liberal and conservative wings,” the New York Times reads. “He was known to sometimes approach cases from a more moderate point of view than his liberal colleagues.”
President Joe Biden is expected to make the formal announcement to the White House on Thursday, Jan. 27, according to NBC News. During his primary campaign, Biden promised to nominate a Black woman to the position. The nomination will be a big move for Democrats with the last Democrat nominated to the court nearly 12 years ago.
“It has always been the decision of any Supreme Court Justice if and when they retire, and how they want to announce it, and that remains the case today,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a Jan. 26 tweet. “We have no additional details or information to share from [the White House].”
Though nothing further has been said by Biden, there are speculations of possible appointees including U.S. Circuit Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and Justice Leondra Kruger of California’s Supreme Court. Following the news of Breyer’s retirement, Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray said she was calling on Biden to follow through with his campaign promise.
“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 — I want to change that,” Murray said.

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