Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently announced his intentions to step away from the Supreme Court, when the current term ends in June.
Breyer has been pressured by liberal politicians to step down sooner rather than later. Typically, the United States Senate does not have difficulty confirming Supreme Court justices, but over the last decade, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked justices from being confirmed that he believes are too far to the left on the political spectrum.
Breyer’s decision to step down from the court is wonderful. Given his age of 83, and the delicate majority Democrats have in the Senate (50-50), his announcement could not have come at a better time. There are still nine months left before the Nov. midterm elections, which is plenty of time for a Supreme Court Justice to be confirmed by the senate.
It would be very difficult to find a Supreme Court Justice I agree with more than Stephen Breyer. While a political minority on the court, his voting record has been steadfast when it comes to abortion rights and COVID concerns.
In fact, during a debate about whether or not to stop the moratorium on evictions, Breyer dissented, and used current COVID infection statistics as his justification.
Breyer’s retirement means that the Biden administration must decide on a suitable successor to Breyer.
In an effort to diversify the Supreme Court, Biden pledged during his primary campaign to choose a black woman, should he have the chance to name a new Supreme Court Justice.
Thankfully, Biden announced this week he intends on keeping that campaign promise.
The vast majority of people on the Supreme Court since our country’s founding have been white men.
I am very happy that the United States is finally going to have the distinctive view of a black woman on the Supreme Court.
While many agree with Biden’s pledge, conservatives are taking a major issue with his decision to narrow the field of successors by choosing amongst only black women.
This is an incredibly racist thing to believe. Our country has routinely chosen white males as leaders in our country since its founding.
It is only justified that finally, we are expanding our horizons to include those of both genders and all races to be leaders in our country.
Some of these same Republicans did not take issue when Ronad Reagan promised to appoint the first woman to the Supreme court, Sandra Day O’Connor, or when Donald Trump said that his third Supreme Court nomination would, in fact, be a woman, Amy Coney Barrett.
Republicans’ issue with Biden’s pledge speaks volumes about their own perception about who should be part of our political and legal system in the United States. Their point of view is inconsistent at the best, and racist, at the worst.
I look forward to learning who President Biden will nominate as his first Supreme Court appointment.
As it stands, the frontrunners for the Supreme Court vacancy are Kentanji Brown Jackson, Michelle Childs, and Sherrilyn Ifill
Largely, whomever President Biden appoints should get enough votes in the Senate.
Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative outlier among Democrats, has signaled support for Biden’s pledge to pick a black woman for the open seat. He says he will also not vote against the appointee based on policy differences, as long as the appointee is qualified.
Senate Democrats are trying to fast-track the nomination and confirmation process. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has indicated he wants a similar timeline as current Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was appointed by President Trump just before the 2020 Election.
However, whenever Stephen Breyer’s confirmation is concluded, the new justice will likely need to wait a number of weeks or months before Justice Breyer officially retires in June or July of this year.
Simply put, Breyer was being very considerate to President Biden for announcing his retirement several months before his official retirement.
This way, Biden’s nominee can potentially be nominated by the President and confirmed by the senate before the new justice starts her new job.
The nominee will likely have waiting period, where she will be waiting to start as a Supreme Court Jusitce, but will not be active in her official capacity.
Over the past year, Justice Breyer was called out several times for not announcing his retirement as soon as some would have liked.
President Biden is seriously considering three candidates for the Supreme Court opening, and is not focusing too much on the ideological view of the candidate, but the general values and interpretation of the Constitution.
Unfortunately, because of the courts 6-3 conservative majority, the nominee that is ultimately confirmed by the senate will likely not shift court rulings. After all, one of three liberals is retiring, and will almost certainly be replaced by a person who thinks similarly to Breyer
Nonetheless, I believe that it is very exciting to have a black woman on the Supreme court. My next hope is that enough conservatives will retire in the coming years so that there will be a liberal majority.