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World News

27 Jan 2022

US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire

US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire
BBC:

Liberal US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire later this year after nearly three decades on the bench.

His decision ensures President Joe Biden will have an opportunity to nominate a successor who could serve for decades.

But Justice Breyer's replacement will not shift the court's current 6-3 conservative majority.

It comes as the court considers several hot-button issues.

Justice Breyer is expected to retire at the end of the current Supreme Court term in June.

The court plays a key role in American life and is often the final word on highly contentious laws, disputes between states and the federal government, and final appeals to stay executions.

Each of the nine judges - known as justices - serves a lifetime appointment after being nominated by the president and approved by the Senate.

Democrats have been pressuring Justice Breyer - who, at 83, is the oldest member of the bench - to retire so they can fill the seat with someone younger while they control the White House and Senate.

The last Supreme Court vacancy came in 2020, when liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at age 87. Former President Donald Trump was able to appoint her successor, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, less than two months before the US presidential election.

Progressives like New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have been publicly calling for Justice Breyer to step down.

A van hired by the group Demand Justice and carrying the words "Breyer Retire" has also been seen driving around Washington.

According to multiple sources, Justice Breyer was "upset" over the leaked news because he "was not planning to announce his retirement today".

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