- Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Sunday said he didn’t “intend” to die while serving on the Supreme Court.
- At 83 years old, Breyer is the oldest serving Supreme Court Justice.
- Calls for Breyer to retire have been popular among progressives, who want Biden to nominate a replacement during his first term.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Associate Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Sunday repeated he did not “intend” to die while serving on the Supreme Court even though he didn’t retire at the end of the Supreme Court’s previous term.
“I didn’t retire because, on balance, I decided I wouldn’t retire,” Breyer said during an interview with Chris Wallace that aired on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I don’t intend to die on the court,” he added. “I don’t think I’ll be there forever.”
At 83 years old, Breyer is the oldest justice currently serving on the Supreme Court. He has faced calls to retire from prominent progressives who say his resignation would allow Biden to nominate his replacement during his current term in office and before the 2022 midterm elections, while Democrats still hold a slim majority in the Senate.
New York Democrat Rep. Mondaire Jones in April first called for Breyer to retire. Other progressive lawmakers, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have followed suit in calling for him to step away from the court.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity for President Biden to appoint and for the Senate to confirm jurists on the Supreme Court who are not hostile to our democracy and will adjudicate cases that will protect and preserve voting rights and will respect the will of Congress, frankly,” Jones said in an April CNN interview.
-Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 12, 2021
A group of 18 legal academics urged Breyer to retire in a full-page ad in The New York Times in June, as Insider previously reported.
During his four years in office, former President Donald Trump successfully nominated three justices to the court: Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, shifting the ideological balance of the court toward conservatives.
Trump’s final nominee, Barrett, ascended to the highest court in the US in the final months of Trump’s presidency when Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September 2020 aged 87 following cancer complications. Despite pleas from Democrats to wait until after the 2020 election to nominate a new justice, Trump and Senate Republicans quickly pushed forward to place Barrett on the court.
Barrett’s confirmation by the Senate came just four years after the Republican-controlled Senate refused to hold a confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland, who had been nominated to the court during former President Barack Obama’s final year in office.
Bryer’s comments Sunday echo those he made last week in an NPR interview.
“I’m only going to say that I’m not going to go beyond what I previously said on the subject, and that is that I do not believe I should stay on the Supreme Court, or want to stay on the Supreme Court until I die,” he told NPR in an interview promoting his new book, “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics.”
“And when exactly I should retire, or will retire, has many complex parts to it. I think I’m aware of most of them, and I am, and will consider them,” he added.
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