The group launched its effort Friday and says it wants Breyer, 82, to step down so that President Biden can appoint the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court while Democrats have control of the Senate.
However, Justice Breyer also came out recently against court packing, warning it could “erode trust,” and cautioned against making the Court political.
Demand Justice, an advocacy group led by a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), is pressing longtime liberal stalwart Justice Stephen Breyer to retire from the Supreme Court.
The group launched its effort Friday and wants Breyer, 82, to step down so that President Biden can appoint the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court while Democrats have control of the Senate.
“We are now firmly in the window when past justices have announced their retirement, so it’s officially worrisome that Justice Breyer has not said yet that he will step down. The only responsible choice for Justice Breyer is to immediately announce his retirement so President Biden can quickly nominate the first-ever Black woman Supreme Court justice,” said Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice and a former top aide to Schumer.
He seems to have forgotten Ruth Bader Ginsburg who clung to her job through multiple cancer treatments and finally died without ever retiring.
Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia appointed by former President Obama, is considered a top candidate to make history on the high court. Biden recently nominated her to fill Merrick Garland‘s open seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Demand Justice has hired a billboard truck to drive around the Supreme Court with the message: “Breyer, retire. It’s time for a Black woman Supreme Court justice. There’s no time to waste.”
The group also launched an online petition asking signatories to “Tell Justice Breyer: Put the country first. Don’t risk your legacy to an uncertain political future. Retire now.’”
Demand Justice noted that two other prominent liberal justices, former Justice David Souter and former Justice John Paul Stevens, announced their retirements during Obama’s first two years in office.
Progressive activists are still feeling stung by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the most influential liberal justices to serve on the court in recent decades. Her death in September opened the way for Senate Republicans to speedily confirm President Trump’s nominee, conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett, before the November presidential election.
With the Senate now split 50-50 and the 2022 midterm elections fewer than 20 months away, activists on the left are nervous about the future of Breyer’s seat.
If Democrats lose their Senate majority next year, there’s no guarantee that Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) would hold a hearing on Biden’s nominee. McConnell famously denied Garland a hearing or a vote in 2016 after Obama nominated him.