Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is reportedly planning to retire at the end of this term.
BREAKING: Per @PeteWilliamsNBC of @NBCNews, Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring. The 83-year-old Breyer, a pragmatic liberal who has served on the Supreme Court for nearly 28 years, is expected to tell the White House imminently of his intention to step down. https://t.co/zgYz2qmndI
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) January 26, 2022
The news comes after Democrats had been pushing for him to leave so a Democrat president and a Democrat-controlled Senate can replace him. Some in the party are concerned they could lose control of the Senate this fall in the 2022 midterm elections.
Breyer had initially resisted the pressure to quit. But the 83-year-old justice also told Fox News last year he didn't intend to "die on the court" as his colleagues Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg did.
After Ginsburg's death in September 2020, then-President Donald Trump quickly filled the vacancy with a conservative justice, Amy Coney Barrett.
Democrats currently have a very slim majority in the Senate, and projections indicate some very tough Senate election battles in the fall. So they're racing the clock to replace Breyer while they still have the power to approve his replacement.
President Biden has pledged to fill any Supreme Court opening by naming the first Black woman to the high court. That would make for an all-female progressive wing of the high court since Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are the most left-leaning members on the bench.
Breyer, who was appointed to the high court by President Clinton, has been one of the more liberal justices on the bench, a staunch supporter of abortion.
CNN's Jessica Schneider: Breyer "has been a really vocal member of the court...talking about how politics should not permeate the high court. That has been his consistent message, but perhaps today...potentially politics playing a role in Justice Breyer's decision to step down." pic.twitter.com/ubaXE9bjNu
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) January 26, 2022