Twelve left-wing groups, including Black Lives Matter, called on Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to “immediately announce his intent to retire” so that Democrats can confirm his successor while they still have the slimmest-possible Senate majority.
The groups ran a full-page advertisement in Politico on Wednesday, the Huffington Post reported.
“If Breyer were replaced by an additional ultra-conservative justice, an even further-right [sic] Supreme Court would leave our democracy and the rights of marginalized communities at even greater risk,” the ad said.
The ad also demands that President Joe Biden “fulfill his pledge” to put the first black woman on the Supreme Court.
“For the good of the country, now is the time to step aside,” the ad said.
As part of the same effort, 18 prominent academics in the legal field signed onto an advertisement that will run in the New York Times on Friday.
“Breyer is a remarkable jurist, but with future control of a closely divided Senate uncertain, it is best for the country that President Biden have the opportunity to nominate a successor without delay,” the professors said in a letter, according to Business Insider.
The campaign for Breyer—a reliably left-wing justice appointed by former president Bill Clinton—to retire comes as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it would be “highly unlikely” that he would allow Biden’s nominee to advance if the Republicans control the Senate after the 2022 midterms.
The activist groups pushing for Breyer’s retirement are following the lead of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-N.Y., who maintains close personal ties to several of them, including the Justice Democrats.
She said the Democrats should ask Breyer to retire if they cannot pass their sweeping election-theft bill, HR 1.
“I believe we should protect our Supreme Court and that [Breyer’s retirement] should absolutely be a consideration if the Senate is unable to pass a sweeping government, ethics and election bill that was approved by the House earlier this year,” Ocasio–Cortez said.
The corporate media and the Democratic Party have pushed the narrative that the Supreme Court leans far to the right, even though conservatives hold a slim majority, at best.
Chief Justice John Roberts votes with the progressives almost as often as the conservatives on major issues. And three Trump-appointed justices—Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch—have so far shown themselves not to be as conservative as justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
Yet, Aaron Belkin, director of the far-left activist group Take Back the Court, said the Democrats will have to smash historical precedent and pack the Supreme Court unless Breyer gives them their way.
“At this point Democrats only have two choices: expand the Court or accept that Republicans will get to make the rules in perpetuity no matter how unpopular they are,” he said.
Breyer has signaled that he will not retire because of political pressure.
“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,” Breyer said at an online speech in April at Harvard Law School. “They are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment.”
Some court watchers, moreover, have noted that he and the court’s other two liberal justices have recently sided with the court’s conservatives on an increasing number of unanimous decisions.
That has been seen speculatively as a rebuke on the pressure campaign from Democrat legislators and left-wing activists—indicating, perhaps, that they see their judicial independence outweighing any particular political ideology.
These groups signed the advertisement: Demand Justice, Women’s March, Ultraviolet, Justice Democrats, BLM, Working Families Party, Battle Born Collective, Sunrise Movement, Common Defense, We Testify, Take Back the Court Action Fund, and People’s Parity Project.