Why do reports of US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retiring matter?

Why do reports of US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retiring matter?

The backstory:

  • There are really only two ways a justice can be removed from their position – retirement or death.
  • During Trump’s time, he appointed three justices in four years, which is a lot for one president, and as you can imagine, really annoyed the Democrats.
  • What this meant was that there was a strong conservative majority in the nation’s top judicial body, which has shown an increasing assertiveness on issues including abortion and gun rights.

The development:

  • Liberal United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is reportedly retiring from his position on the court.
  • Many on the left have been worried that Justice Breyer, who is 83, would wait to retire and possibly die during the term of a conservative president, who would then probably choose a conservative justice as his replacement.
  • Breyer hasn’t made an official announcement yet, but once he does, the ball will be in the court of the Biden administration to pick a replacement because it’s the president’s job to nominate Supreme Court justices.
  • People are expecting Biden to choose a younger liberal to maintain that seat. And this is significant because this justice will probably remain in the seat throughout the next several presidencies. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, for example, was there for nearly three decades before she passed away.
  • Putting a judge on the Supreme Court is also a huge deal since it’s one of the most lasting things a president has the chance to do, and the judges a president manages to get on the bench tend to be a large part of that president’s legacy.

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