Legal Law

Bye-Bye, Breyer, It’s Time To Retire

Justice Stephen Breyer (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who turns 83 this year, is a stalwart who likely could continue to serve on the Supreme Court with distinction for many years.

But if he doesn’t want to risk having his seat go to someone with an opposing judicial philosophy — which just happened to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — and if he wants to give President Biden the best opportunity to choose a successor who shares his values, Breyer should step down as soon as possible. …

[W]henever Breyer’s tenure ends, it will be a great loss for the court and the nation. He is the author of major opinions protecting abortion rights, calling for an end to the death penalty and urging empowering the government with the ability to end de facto school segregation. He has a pragmatic approach to judging that looks more to real-world effects than abstract ideology. And there is no dispute that he is serving with integrity and dedication.

His successor could accomplish all of those things, too. And the person in the best position to ensure that is Breyer himself.

— Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of Berkeley Law, calling on Justice Stephen Breyer to retire from the Supreme Court, in an op-ed published recently in the Washington Post. In 2014, Chemerinsky penned an op-ed calling on the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to step down from the high court, but she did not, which led to the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the final days of Donald Trump’s time as president.


Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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