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Justice Stephen Breyer announces retirement just months ahead of 2022 midterms

Breyer, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton is one of the three liberal justices’ on the Supreme Court, alongside Obama appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Justice Stephen Breyer announces retirement just months ahead of 2022 midterms
Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File
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Justice Stephen Breyer, a liberal member of the Supreme Court has announced his retirement just months ahead of the 2022 midterms. The move is seen by many as a preemptive effort to ensure that Biden is able to pick his replacement with a Democratic Senate in his favor, because the situation is not looking good for the Democrats.

Breyer will step down at the end of his current term, according to people close to the justice, NBC News reported on Wednesday.

Breyer, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton is one of the three liberal justices’ on the Supreme Court, alongside Obama appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The justice’s decision to retire comes after 27 years on the Supreme Court, and will not provide President Joe Biden with the opportunity to appoint a successor maintaining the current 6-3 divide between conservative and liberal judges on the court.

“Progressive group Demand Justice launched a new ‘Breyer Retire’ campaign Friday urging U.S. Supreme Court Stephen Breyer to ‘retire now’ from the high court, putting more pressure on the liberal-leaning justice to step down while Democrats narrowly have Senate control after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death resulted in President Donald Trump choosing her successor,” Forbes reported in April, 2021.

“We are now firmly in the window when past justices have announced their retirement, so it’s officially worrisome that Justice Breyer has not yet said that he will step down,” Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon said in a statement at the time. He called Breyer’s retirement “the only responsible choice.”

Breyer has received multiple calls to retire by activists and members of Congress to allow Biden a nominee for the Supreme Court, with many progressive Democrats urging the president to select Breyers replacement on the grounds of race and gender.

Planned Parenthood Communications Director Brandon Richards pointed out that during Biden’s presidential debates, the president committed to selecting a black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I’ll appoint the first black woman to the Court, it’s required that they have representation now, it’s long overdue,” said Biden.

A host of activists and politicians, including Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Rashida Tlaib, and others said that it is time now for Biden to make good on his promise and get a black woman on the Supreme Court.

Conservatives meanwhile mockingly suggested that Biden’s pick for the Supreme Court ought to be a transgender woman of color with they/them pronouns.

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