REVEALED: Biden rejects progressive push to have 82-year-old Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retire so he can be replaced with a younger, liberal judge
- President Joe Biden is rejecting a progressive push to have 82-year-old Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retire
- Axios reported Tuesday that Biden and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain are worried that efforts to get Breyer to retire could backfire
- Progressives point to failed efforts to have liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg retire while President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats were in control
- She died in September 2020, allowing former President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans to get a third conservative on the court in four years
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has already indicated he’ll likely block any Biden pick if Republicans take control of the Senate in the 2022 midterms
President Joe Biden and the top brass at the White House are rejecting a progressive push to have 82-year-old Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retire so Biden can appoint a younger liberal before next year’s midterm elections.
Axios reported Tuesday that Biden and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain are worried that pressuring Breyer, either publicly or privately, could backfire – motivating the judge to stay on the bench longer to prove he’s unmoved by politics.
‘The President’s view is that any considerations about potential retirements are solely and entirely up to justices themselves,’ White House spokesman Andrew Bates told the publication.
Axios reported Tuesday that President Joe Biden and his top aides are rejecting progressive calls to encourage liberal Justice Stephen Breyer to retire from the Supreme Court while Democrats have control of the White House and Senate
82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer is now the Supreme Court’s most senior liberal, following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last year. Ginsburg was replaced by conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett a week before the presidential election
Those on the party’s left – including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – have said they believe Breyer should retire while Democrats have control of the White House and Senate.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has already indicated he’ll, again, play hard ball if Biden gets a chance to pick a new justice and the Republicans are in power.
McConnell had appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show in June and was asked if he’d repeat with Biden what he did to President Barack Obama in 2016 – and not give Obama’s Supreme Court pick, now Attorney General Merrick Garland, a vote, because it was during a presidential election year.
‘I think it’s highly unlikely – in fact, no, I don’t think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,’ McConnell responded.
McConnell then left the door open to go even further – and reject any Biden SCOTUS pick – even before 2024 – if the Senate flipped back to GOP control.
‘Well, we’d have to wait and see what happens,’ the Kentucky Republican said.
Democrats and Republicans are evenly split 50-50 in the current make-up of the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris available to make a tie-breaking vote.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court balance has tipped to six conservatives and three liberals, with Breyer now in the most senior position of those on the left.
Former President Donald Trump was able to appoint three conservatives in just four years, with Justice Neil Gorsuch getting the seat Obama chose Garland for, with McConnell successfully keeping the seat open.
Then Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee who had become the Court’s centrist swing vote.
But progressives mostly point to the case of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when making the case for Breyer to retire.
Some Democrats had wanted the 87-year-old Ginsburg to retire while Obama was still in office, but she remained on the bench.
Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020 – with about six weeks to go before the presidential election.
With a Republican in the White House and the party in charge of the Senate – and no filibuster in place for judicial nominations – McConnell helped usher conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett onto the bench a week before voters went to the polls.
Brian Fallon, co-founder and executive director of Demand Justice, and former press secretary to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, told Axios he believed Democrats were poised to repeat history by not pushing Breyer to budge.
‘For Democrats to sit on their hands and be content to potentially watch a slow-motion replay of the RBG situation play out just goes to show the folly of our party’s passive approach to the courts over the years,’ Fallon said. ‘The Court is already a deeply politicized institution, and there it nothing lost by acknowledging that reality and responding accordingly.’