Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Retiring

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Posted: Jan 26, 2022 12:13 PM
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Retiring

Source: Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire — once a replacement has been confirmed — after serving for nearly three decades on America's highest court, according to reporting confirmed by NBC News on Wednesday.

The retirement of Breyer — who at 83 is the Supreme Court's oldest justice — will allow President Biden to nominate a replacement, giving liberals a chance to lock in a reliably liberal justice for decades to come.  

President Biden has previously promised that, if given the chance, his first nominee to the Supreme Court would be a black woman. Potential nominees who fit the bill, according to NBC, include "federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, former Breyer law clerk, and Leondra Kruger, a justice on California’s Supreme Court."

The news sets up what could be a bitter confirmation fight just before the midterm elections in which Democrats are expected to suffer significant losses in Congress. With a currently razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate, every Democrat will likely need to be onboard with whomever President Biden nominates. 

A Democratic caucus that hasn't been entirely unified in Biden's first year in office means that Senators such as Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) could pose an obstacle to a more-radical nominee. When it comes to many Republicans, the confirmation battles for Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett are still raw wounds — meaning there might not be much effort among the GOP caucus to help Biden fill the vacancy. Even still, there are some Republican Senators who have reliably voted to confirm Democrat-nominated justices in the past as Guy points out here:

And, as with most things, a Democrat in the White House means there probably won't be any radical Code Pink protestors disrupting hearings, insane baseless accusations, or an obsession with whether or not the nominee drinks beer, adopted children, or goes to church.

With an apparent need to get a new liberal justice confirmed before any Democrat losses, Press Secretary Jen Psaki took to Twitter to dispel any notions that Biden may have pushed for Breyer's retirement before the midterms and say that the White House has "no additional details or information to share."

This is a breaking story and may be updated.