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Justice Stephen Breyer Speaks Out Amid Calls To Retire

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Justice Stephen Breyer is breaking his silence amid calls from some Democratic members of Congress to retire.

He told CNN he has not made a decision on when he will retire and “is especially gratified with his new role as the senior liberal on the bench.”

According to Breyer, only two factors will override his decision.

“Primarily, of course, health,” the 83-year-old said. “Second, the court.”

On whether he has decided when to step down, Breyer replied, “No.”

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According to Breyer, his seniority in private discussions with justices over cases “has made a difference to me. … It is not a fight. It is not sarcasm. It is deliberation.”

CNN notes Breyer played a leading role in several major cases during the recent session, “including to reject a third challenge to the Affordable Care Act, to bolster student speech rights, and to give Google a victory in a multibillion-dollar copyright infringement case brought by Oracle.”

Still, he is facing pressure from some to retire.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats are ready to fill any vacancy should one arise, seemingly referring to Breyer, as IJR reported.

Is it time for him to retire?

“Alongside these crucial legislative priorities, the Senate will continue to confirm more of President Biden’s highly qualified judicial nominees. … We will continue this critical work in the months to come,” Schumer said.

He added, “As always, Senate Democrats stand ready to expeditiously fill any potential vacancies on the Supreme Court should they arise.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was asked about Breyer’s retirement during a CNN interview, as IJR reported.

“You know, it’s something I think about, but I would probably lean towards yes,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

She added, “I would give more thought to it, but I’m inclined to say yes.”

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Breyer has also faced pressure to retire from other activists and academics.

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