All this month, the Supreme Court has been dominating headlines, as it has been announcing a slew of conservative decisions.
Now the court is headed for a personnel shakeup.
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Justice Stephen Breyer has submitted his notice of retirement to President Joe Biden. His retirement will take effect at noon on Thursday, June 30.
The court goes into summer recess after Thursday. By the end of that day, the court plans to have announced all the remaining decisions from this term.
It’s an unusual move. Supreme Court justices normally retire in the summer near the end of the term. Every justice to retire in the 21st century — David Souter, Anthony Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, and Sandra Day O’Connor — has done so.
However, Breyer saw his retirement plans leak to the press in January, and so he formally announced his retirement soon after.
The court faced criticism for allowing Breyer’s personal news to leak. Of course, the court would later see an even more explosive leak: a draft of the opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.
Some justices, like O’Connor, retire upon confirmation of a successor. This way, they can influence the president’s choice for a successor.
However, Breyer has made his retirement effective upon the end of the court’s term, leaving the choice to Biden.
To replace Breyer, Biden picked Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on D.C.’s federal court of appeals. The Senate confirmed Jackson in April.
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Breyer spoke fondly of his time on the court, and he expressed confidence in Jackson.
“It has been my great honor to participate as a judge in our effort to maintain our Constitution and the Rule of Law,” Breyer wrote in his notice of retirement.
In the letter, he cited a statute allowing retired justices to retain their titles and collect their pensions.
Take a look —
NEW: Justice Breyer has sent a letter to President Biden informing him that his retirement will be effective 24 hours from now: at noon on Thursday, June 30. pic.twitter.com/3nLsKkPKCB
— Steven Mazie (@stevenmazie) June 29, 2022
The Horn editorial team