‘What goes around comes around’: Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer warns Biden against packing the Supreme Court saying the move will be overturned by Republicans as soon as they regain power
- Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer on Friday warned against court packing
- ‘If the Democrats can do it, the Republicans can do it,’ he told NPR
- President Biden has set up a commission to look at reforming the Supreme Court
- But Breyer said maintaining public trust was crucial to the court’s mission
- Adding more justices could likely cause people to lose trust, he told Fox News
Justice Stephen Breyer warned against increasing the size of the Supreme Court during interviews to promote his new book
Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer warned on Friday that increasing the size of the Supreme Court risked damaging trust in the court and said progressives packing with the bench with likeminded judges would simply push conservatives to do the same.
‘What goes around comes around – and if the Democrats can do it, the Republicans can do it,’ Breyer, 83, told NPR on Friday.
Breyer – who has come under pressure from liberals to retire so President Joe Biden can nominate with a younger, progressive judge – made the remark while promoting his new book ‘The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics-
In a separate interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, set to air in full on Sunday, Breyer again cautioned against remaking a court that currently has a 6-3 conservative majority.
‘One party could do it, I guess another party could do it,’ he stated.
‘On the surface, it seems to me that you start changing these things around, and
THIS SUNDAY: “It seems to me you start changing all these things around and people will lose trust in the Court.” Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer sits down with Chris for a wide-ranging interview, discussing Court packing and much more. Tune in! pic.twitter.com/PyLse6lzEZ
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) September 10, 2021
Breyer (seated, second from right) is the senior member of the court’s three-judge liberal wing. They saw their numbers decrease from four to three, triggering calls for reform
President Biden has set up a commission to examine reforming the Supreme Court but has remained tight-lipped on his own position
Breyer is the senior member of its three-judge liberal wing.
They saw their number reduced under President Trump who nominated three conservative justices during his time in office (replacing two conservatives and one liberal.)
As a result, progressives are pushing to increase liberal representation and President Biden has set up a commission to study potential changes to the court.
Breyer said maintaining public trust was essential to the role of the court. And he cited comments made by former Senate Democratic Leade Harry Reid after the 2000 presidential election, when the Supreme Court essentially ruled that George W. Bush won the race.
‘He said the most remarkable thing about this case is, even though probably half the country didn’t like it at all, and it was totally wrong, in his opinion and in mine, people followed it, and they didn’t throw brickbats at each other and they didn’t have riots,’ Breyer said.
The push for reform took on added urgency for liberals last week with the court’s 5-4 decision not to block a strict Texas law that bans almost all abortions – without even any exceptions for rape or incest.
Breyer said the unsigned opinion ‘was very, very, very wrong – I’ll add one more very.’
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s three liberals in arguing the law should be blocked as legal challenges play out.
The new law allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a women obtain an abortion, setting a $10,000 penalty to be paid by the defendant if they lose in court.
‘We thought that that particular case should not be decided just on an emergency basis but it’s a procedural matter and so we’ll see what happens in that area when we get a substantive matter in front of us,’ said Breyer.
He was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1994.
And last month, it emerged that Biden had resisted pressure from liberals to ask Breyer to step down.
For his part, Breyer gave no hints of when he might retire.
‘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 told NPR.