President Joe Biden has, thus far, rejected far-left demands to pressure Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer into retiring while Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, still controls the agenda, Axios reported.
Yet, it remains one of the few institutions uncorrupted by the political process that is capable of offering checks and balances against the deeply partisan legislative and executive branches.
In spite of Biden’s past hints at supporting a dangerous court-packing initiative, anonymous sources told Axios that Biden and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain do not want to politicize the Supreme Court.
“The President’s view is that any considerations about potential retirements are solely and entirely up to justices themselves,” said White House spokesman Andrew Bates, confirming the report.
However, the sources said that Biden and Klain would support Breyer’s decision to step down if he made the choice himself.
Following former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last year, Breyer, who turns 83 on Aug. 15, became the court’s oldest justice.
In an April speech to the Harvard Law School, he voiced opposition to judges retiring for political purposes.
“My experience of more than 30 years as a judge … has shown me that once men and women take the judicial oath—they take that oath to heart,” he said. “They are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment.”
Yet, some Democrats worry that if Breyer retires or dies after next year’s midterm elections, Republicans may control the Senate and block any candidate who Biden nominates.
With the Senate evenly split, even one GOP seat gain could shift the majority control during the 2022 midterm election.
Moreover, trends show that even under far more favorable conditions than those of the current Biden administration, the party in power tends to lose midterm seats.
Biden’s two Democrat predecessors, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, both had historically bad midterm results, shifting congressional control back to the opposition in their first presidential terms.
Current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., previously refused to consider Obama nominee Merrick Garland to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, citing the fact that it was an election year.
He has already hinted that he would do the same if Breyer were to vacate the seat in 2024 while Republicans controlled the Senate.
Almost since Biden’s inauguration, radical activists and elected officials have urged Breyer to retire.
She conditioned Breyer’s retirement on the Democrat-controlled Congress passing legislation to ensure 2020-style election fraud in all future elections.
“I believe we should protect our Supreme Court and that [Breyer’s retirement] should absolutely be a consideration,” she said.
Black Lives Matter and 11 other far-left groups in June demanded Breyer’s retirement in a full-page advertisement in Politico.
A separate New York Times ad, sponsored by 18 law-school academics, also called for his resignation.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.