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Democrats walked on eggshells hoping to avoid this moment.
But they could not catch a break.
And one Supreme Court Justice’s retirement announcement is bad news for Joe Biden.
As Black Eye Politics reports:
Democrats sprung a full-court press on 82-year-old left-wing Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire right now while Democrats controlled the Senate.
Liberals saw what happened after Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not step down after Barack Obama won re-election and Donald Trump ended up replacing her with Amy Coney Barrett.
Breyer – who Bill Clinton nominated in 1994 – outright refused the left’s pressure campaign and made it clear he would stay on the court for at least this coming term.
In an interview with NPR left-wing activist Nina Totenberg, Breyer reiterated that he would eventually retire, but that he would do it on his own terms.
“I’m only going to say that I’m not going to go beyond what I previously said on the subject, and that is that I do not believe I should stay on the Supreme Court, or want to stay on the Supreme Court, until I die,” Breyer told Totenberg. “And when exactly I should retire, or will retire, has many complex parts to it. I think I’m aware of most of them, and I am, and will consider them.”
In the past, Breyer’s criticized how justices strategically retire when a president from the same party as the one who appointed them is in the White House to ensure an ideological line of succession.
Breyer believes this diminishes public faith in the court.
But Breyer may also want to stay on the court because the justices will hear arguments on cases involving abortion, affirmative action, and gun control.
Breyer may want to hang on to see if he can swing Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh to vote with the left in an ideological compromise to limit the scope of the expected conservative wins in all three cases or write the lead dissents – as the most senior justice in what is expected to be the minority in all three cases, Breyer controls who writes the dissent – that will define liberal jurisprudence on these issues for generations to come.
However, Democrats are nervous about Breyer staying on the court through 2022.
The Senate is split 50/50.
Right now, Chuck Schumer controls the judicial confirmation process by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote.
But if Democrats experience one Senate vacancy in a state where there is a Republican governor the GOP would regain the majority.
And Mitch McConnell already stated he would not confirm any nominees in 2024 because it is an election year where the GOP runs the Senate, and a Democrat is in the White House.
McConnell established this precedent in 2016 when Republicans blocked Barack Obama from filling Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat.
The move paid off big time when Trump won the election and appointed three justices swinging the court to the right.
However, McConnell also would not commit to confirming any Biden Supreme Court nominee in 2022 or 2023 if the GOP somehow retook the majority.
And Breyer’s announcement has Democrats sweating bullets that they will still control the majority when Breyer decides to step down.