During a TV interview, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bryer was asked about his impending retirement. When asked if he knew when that would be the 83-year-old said, “No.”
Bryer, who has held his seat for over 25 years, just can’t walk away from the court and wants to want to enjoy the privileges of being the court’s highest-ranking liberal.
He gave two reasons that would contribute to an eventual decision: “Primarily, of course, health,” Breyer said. “Second, the court.”
Liberals have urged Breyer to step down at the end of the court’s current term so that President Joe Biden can name a younger, liberal justice to the bench while Democrats hold a Senate majority. But Breyer told CNN that he was happy as the court’s highest-ranking liberal, saying that it had “made a difference” to him.
Breyer has played a central role in several recent high-profile cases, from rejecting a third attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act to safeguarding student speech rights.
He has also warned against packing the Supreme Court, warning in April that doing so could further erode Americans’ trust in it. He defended the court’s refusal to hear former President Donald Trump’s challenges to the 2020 election, noting that the “court is guided by legal principle, not politics.”
Breyer joined the court in 1994. He has held his position longer than any other justice except for Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed just three years earlier.