Breyer presented a letter to President Joe Biden this morning officially announcing his retirement. The letter read in part:
I enormously appreciate the privilege of serving as part of the federal judicial system. I have found the work challenging and meaningful. My relations with each of my colleagues have been warm and friendly. Throughout, I have been aware of the great honor of participating as a judge in the effort to maintain our Constitution and the rule of law.
Breyer said that his retirement will take place during the Court’s summer recess.
After that, he appeared with President Biden to speak to the media. Biden spoke highly of Breyer.
“I’m here today to express the nation’s gratitude to Justice Stephen Breyer for his remarkable career in public service and his clear-eyed commitment to making our country’s laws work for its people,” the president said.
Biden took pride in his role in confirming Breyer during the Clinton administration:
In 1994, I got to preside as chairman of the Senate judiciary committee over his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. We were joking with one another when he walked in. Did we ever think he’d have served decades on the court and I’d be President of the United States the day he came in to retire? … I won’t say what he said, I’m joking, but I was proud and grateful to be there at the start of his distinguished career on the Supreme Court and I’m very proud to be here on the announcement of his retirement.
Biden said that he will announce his pick to replace Breyer next month. He has pledged to nominate a black woman to the Court.
As Breyer faces retirement, he marveled at the resilience of the American people to try to get along, despite the differences among the populace:
This is a complicated country. There’s more than 330 million people, and my mother used to say it’s every race, it’s every religion — and she would emphasize this — and its every point of view possible. And it’s a kind of miracle when you sit there and see all those people in front of you. People that are so different in what they think, and yet they’ve decided to help solve their major differences under law.
Breyer is one of the most liberal justices on the Court. Whoever Biden chooses to replace Breyer won’t make much of a difference in the ideological makeup of the Court.
The Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released a statement on Breyer and Biden’s remarks:
We know Joe Biden– who does not have a single vote to spare in the Senate – will nominate an activist judge who will rubber stamp the far-left’s political agenda. This type of judge is a threat to Americans’ constitutional rights including religious liberty, the Second Amendment, the right to life, and free speech. The RNC will do everything in our power to expose Biden’s Supreme Court nominee and hold Senate Democrats accountable in November for their votes.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has also weighed in.
“The President must not outsource this important decision to the radical left,” he said. “The American people deserve a nominee with demonstrated reverence for the written text of our laws and our Constitution.”
You can read more analysis of the Breyer retirement from PJ Media here: