UPDATED 1:38 PM PT – Thursday, January 27, 2022
Justice Stephen Breyer officially announced his retirement alongside Joe Biden. In an event at the White House Thursday, the pair discussed his retirement from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term. Among Breyer’s most notable opinions from the bench include supporting expansion of abortion and upholding the Affordable Care Act.
After nearly three decades of service on the nations highest court, Breyer is stepping away. The 83-year-old’s decision gives Biden the opportunity to make his first appointment to the court. Biden said he will keep his campaign pledge to nominate the first black woman to the Supreme Court.
The person I nominate to replace Justice Breyer will be someone with extraordinary qualifications. Character, experience, and integrity.
And they will be the first Black woman nominated to the United States Supreme Court.
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 27, 2022
Biden said the process for Breyer’s replacement will be rigorous and he expects to make his decision public by the end of February. The Democrat is said to already have a shortlist of potential nominees with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson appearing to be the front runner.
Breyer was first appointed to the court in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. He secured confirmation in the Democrat-controlled Senate by an 87-to-nine vote. Experts say the timing of Breyer’s resignation will give Joe Biden an opportunity to replace him while Democrats still control the Senate.
“And Justice Breyer didn’t retire last term and is deciding to retire now while the Democrats still have control of the Senate,” said Mark Sherman, a Supreme Court reporter for the Associated Press. “I think that’s the key point that Biden should be able to name his successor without too much trouble.”
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki faced repeated questions about whether or not Kamala Harris would replace retiring left-wing Breyer. A number of reporters asked Psaki Wednesday who Biden may consider as Breyer’s replacement. Some reporters speculate Harris may be seeking the role as well amid a low approval rating and being reportedly dissatisfied with her role at the White House.
“…The President has every intention, as he said before, of running for re-election and for running for re-election with Vice President Harris on the ticket as his partner,” Psaki told the press. “But again, I will just reiterate that I have nothing more to offer in terms of specifics or information on the reports this morning.”
“The president has every intention, as he said before, of running for reelection, and for running for reelection with Vice President Harris on the ticket as his partner.” pic.twitter.com/nBaRLb6pT3
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 26, 2022
Secretary Psaki only confirmed Biden plans to run for re-election with Harris on the ticket.