Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer spoke with “Fox News Sunday” where he expressed discontent with how politically charged the Supreme Court has become. Justice Breyer was specifically asked about the Democrats’ discussion to rid the Court of a conservative majority by expanding its size and having Biden appoint multiple liberal justices.
Breyer warned the incident is an example of what could lose the people’s trust. “Well, if one party could do it, I guess another party could do it” he said. “On the surface, it seems to me you start changing all these things around and people will lose trust in the court.”
Breyer was appointed to the Court in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton. The Senate confirmed him by a vote of 87-9. Breyer said in the current climate he would not receive such overwhelming support in the Senate. “The answer is, of course, no” he responded to the question about a Senate confirmation in today’s circumstances.
Breyer also discussed one specific reform he would be open to for the court; term limits instead of lifetime appointments for justices. “I think you could do that. It should be a very long-term because you don’t want the judge who’s holding that term to start thinking about his next job. But it would make life easier for me.”
Breyer also announced he does plan on serving in the Court for the remainder of his life, like his two colleagues, Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who remained on the bench until they died.
“I don’t intend to die on the court. I don’t think I’ll be there forever,” Breyer said. Although, many liberals and Democrats have been public about their desire for Breyer to resign while a Democrat is in the White House.
Some want a more liberal Justice than Breyer, while others don’t want to risk an opening to appoint a conservative justice when a Republican is in the White House in the future. Breyer said there are “many considerations” that go into his decision-making about when to retire.
“There are many factors, in fact, quite a few,” Breyer said. “And the role of court and so forth is one of them. And the situation, the institutional considerations are some. And I believe, I can’t say I take anything perfectly into account, but in my own mind, I think about those things.”
He added, “I didn’t retire because I decided on balance I wouldn’t retire.”