For months, far-left activist groups have tried to force Justice Stephen Breyer into retirement. On Friday, though, with the Supreme Court's having come to an end, it looks like the justice may be sticking around for a little while longer.
Justice Breyer has hired full complement of four law clerks for fall term, Supreme Court confirms. @DavidLat reported earlier. Suggests but doesn't guarantee Breyer is sticking around.— Greg Stohr (@GregStohr) July 2, 2021
On Wednesday, The Washington Post published Paul Waldman's opinion column, "Stephen Breyer is making a strong case for Supreme Court term limits." Waldman's headline tells us all we need to know about his viewpoint on the matter; in fact, his arguments are pretty lousy. They're nothing new and Waldman barely puts in any effort, if he does at all, to defend them.
Democrats seem to be petrified that when it's time to replace Breyer, their party will no longer control the Senate, and, should he be the Senate majority leader when the time comes, Mitch McConnell will be running the show to make things difficult for the Democrats. McConnell has already indicated he will likely not allow Biden to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2024, should that come about in a time of ivided government.
Waldman in particular is so frantic that he can't see how seriously McConnell has taken his role and the Senate's role of advice and consent when his party is in control.
It's because of their desperation that Democrats are insisting that the rules be changed. It's likely they would welcome one, a mix of, or all of the examples of court packing, Breyer announcing his retirement, or term limits.
Here's how Waldman dismissively wrote about Breyer:
Breyer hasn’t said anything publicly about his own retirement, but in a recent speech, he said that judges “are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment” and warned against what might happen “if the public sees judges as politicians in robes.”
You can see that as a heartwarmingly idealistic view of what the judiciary ought to be, or a dangerously naive view of what the judiciary has already become. The truth is that the court is unavoidably political even if it is not partisan in every case. Politicians — especially the presidents who appoint judges and the senators who vote to confirm them — certainly see a judge’s party identity as essential to how they’ll rule on the court. And the public thinks so too.
Clearly Justice Breyer is aware of this all on his own. He doesn't need overzealous activist and activist groups reminding him of what's at stake. It's entirely possible it has backfired, especially when every move the justice has made is analyzed as if were his last while on the Court.
What a nice way for Justice Breyer to go out!https://t.co/6IjyTOjfym— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) June 17, 2021
Demand Justice was silent over Twitter on Friday when it came to Breyer's increasingly unlikely retirement. The group did still issue their routine and ridiculous calls for court packing.
Tired: The 3-3-3- Court— Demand Justice #ExpandTheCourt (@WeDemandJustice) July 2, 2021
Wired: The 3-3-3-4 Court
There's way out of all of this. It's adding four seats to the Supreme Court.— Demand Justice #ExpandTheCourt (@WeDemandJustice) July 2, 2021
Someone who not silent, however, was Ben Mathias-Lilley in writing up Slate's "The Surge," which describes itself as "a weekly ranking of the most important people aged 80 and above whose health is absolutely critical to the Democratic Party’s agenda!"
Predictably, Justice Breyer is at the top of the list, "who, as of this writing, is, crucially, still a Supreme Court justice and not a soon-to-be-ex-Supreme Court Justice."