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Justice Breyer Brushes Off Retirement Demands, But Says He Doesn’t ‘Intend to Die on the Court’

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Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, April 23, 2021 (Erin Schaff/Reuters)

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer brushed off progressives’ demands that he retire to make room for a new nominee while the Democratic Party still holds power in the White House and Senate.

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, the 83-year-old justice said, “I didn’t retire because I had decided on balance I wouldn’t retire,” although he did not specify what he would do in the future.

Breyer, who is liberal, sympathized with the argument that sitting justices would not want to see replacements of opposing judicial philosophy later reverse or erode their rulings, referring to the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s statement that he doesn’t want a successor who undoes “everything I’ve tried to do.”

However, Breyer suggested that “many factors” will play into his decision on how long to stay, including politics but also “institutional considerations.” While he confirmed that he doesn’t “intend to die on the Court,” he didn’t provide a timeline for retirement, which many Democrats are eager to know.

“I can’t say I take anything perfectly into account, but in my own mind I think about those things,” Breyer said.

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