Breyer said there are “many considerations” and “many factors” when he steps down, “and the role of the tribunal and so on is one of them.”
“I can’t say I take anything fully into account, but in my mind I think about these things,” said Breyer, who has served on the Supreme Court since 1994.
Democrats have stepped up their calls for Breyer’s retirement in recent months, as a Democratic president would be able to nominate Breyer’s successor and a Democratic majority in the Senate would be there to confirm them. They fear the Republicans will gain a majority in the Senate in November 2022.
In the first of many progressive calls for retirement, Representative Mondaire Jones (DN.Y.) said in april there is “no doubt” that Breyer “should retire at the end of this term”. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez echoed the sentiment in June, saying she was “inclined to say yes” about whether Breyer should retire in the coming weeks.
Activists and progressive groups fear a repeat of the situation after the death of Judge Antonin Scalia, when a Republican-led Senate refused to consider President Barack Obama’s candidate to replace Scalia. They also have bitter memories of the situation after the death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, when former President Donald Trump swiftly passed Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination – and the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed it. just before the 2020 elections.
But Breyer hasn’t signaled much concern over progressives’ push to quit.
“Well, I think they’re entitled to their opinion. I think they – and not only do they understand politics a lot better than I do, they understand it pretty well, and lo and behold, what else do you want me to say? ” he said.