Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer hinted that he is open to retirement in a recent interview with The New York Times.
Breyer, 83, spoke to CNN last month about the prospect of retirement roughly ten months after the death of former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg, 87, was replaced on the court by Amy Coney Barrett following her nomination by former President Donald Trump.
Breyer, a reliably liberal judge who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton in 1994, told the outlet that two basic factors would play into his decision.
“Primarily, of course, health,” Breyer said. “Second, the court.”
Speculation swirled about Breyer’s future after Democrats secured the White House and the Senate in the last election.
A number of Democrats have said Breyer should hang up his robe before next year’s midterms.
In April, Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones of New York called for Breyer’s immediate resignation.
“There’s no question that Justice Breyer, for whom I have great respect, should retire at the end of this term,” he told Cheddar News. “My goodness, have we not learned our lesson?”
Democratic California Rep. Ted Lieu weighed in during an interview with CNN in June.
.@tedlieu: “My recommendation would be the same as Rep. Jones and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which is that I do believe that [Justice Breyer] should retire prior to the midterms.” pic.twitter.com/iMN3f3xwQW
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 15, 2021
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York also suggested Breyer should walk away.
— The Hill (@thehill) June 13, 2021
Breyer spoke about the pressure he’s feeling to step down in an interview with The New York Times published Friday. The oldest justice on the Supreme Court said he feels healthy and is “struggling to decide when to retire.”
“There are many things that go into a retirement decision,” Breyer told the Times.
One factor he cited was a comment from the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
“He said, ‘I don’t want somebody appointed who will just reverse everything I’ve done for the last 25 years,’” Breyer said.
He said the prospect of being replaced by someone whose views are opposed to his own will “inevitably be in the psychology” of his retirement decision.
“I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die — hope not,” he added.
“There are a lot of blurred things there, and there are many considerations,” Breyer said. “They form a whole. I’ll make a decision. … I don’t like making decisions about myself.”