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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer says he hasn't decided when he'll retire: CNN

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United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. AP Photo/Steven Senne
  • Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has not decided when he will retire, he told CNN.

  • The decision will be based on two factors: his health and the court, Breyer said.

  • The comments come as progressives have pressured Breyer to step down.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Justice Stephen Breyer is not yet ready to step down from the Supreme Court, he told CNN in an interview that published Thursday.

The jurist, who turns 83 next month, simply told the outlet "no" when asked if he's decided when he will retire.

Breyer's eventual departure from the bench will depend on two factors: "primarily, of course, health" and "second, the court," he told CNN. He has served on the court for 27 years.

Breyer's public comments on his retirement come amid growing pressure from progressive groups and some congressional lawmakers for him to step down and clear the way for President Joe Biden to appoint his successor.

Progressive activists want Biden to fulfill his campaign promise of putting the first Black woman on the nation's highest court. They also want to secure another liberal justice on the bench for at least the next couple of decades, after former President Donald Trump cemented its conservative majority by appointing three justices during his one term in the White House.

The calls for Breyer to step down ramped up last month when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would block Biden's future picks for the court, if he becomes majority leader again after the 2022 elections. The Kentucky Republican pulled the same move in 2016 with then-President Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland.

Breyer, the oldest member of the court, had not weighed in publicly amid the speculation on his retirement plans. In April, he warned of the politicization of the bench and stressed the importance of maintaining an independent judiciary.

The court confirmed earlier this month that Breyer hired four law clerks for the upcoming fall term, seemingly putting to rest a retirement announcement in the near future.

Breyer is enjoying his new rank as the court's most senior liberal justice, he told CNN. He assumed the position following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death last September.

During the court's recent term that wrapped up in July, he was responsible for writing the majority opinion on notable cases, including dismissing the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Breyer told CNN that his senior position "has made a difference to me."

"It is not a fight. It is not sarcasm. It is deliberation," he said of the justices' private conversations on cases.

One of the progressive groups pushing for Breyer's retirement reacted to his latest comments on Thursday.

Breyer is "intent on making us all hold our collective breath that no Democratic senators fall ill over the next year in order to indulge his desire to continue serving on the Court," Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon said in a statement, referencing Democrats' slim majority in the Senate.

The CNN interview suggests "Breyer's desire to stay is based less on a high-minded notion that he might somehow preserve the Court's reputation for independence, and more on the fact that he finds it personally fulfilling to get the chance to serve in the role of the Court's senior liberal," Fallon continued. "In other words, this is about ego."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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