Liberals press Supreme Court Justice Breyer to retire with Democrats close to Senate control

Some liberals hope to replace the 82-year-old Breyer with someone younger as soon as possible

With results from Georgia's Senate runoff elections appearing to indicate that Democrats will take control of the chamber, liberals are quickly making their wishes known when it comes to the Supreme Court.

Demand Justice, a liberal group that supports Supreme Court reform, is already pushing liberal Justice Stephen Breyer to retire so that President-elect Joe Biden can replace him with a Black, female jurist who would presumably be much younger than the 82-year-old Breyer.

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"Justice Breyer's service on the court has been remarkable, and history will remember him even more fondly if he ends up playing a critical role in ensuring the appointment of the first Black woman to the court," Demand Justice executive director Brian Fallon told Politico. "Timing his retirement in the coming year would guarantee that opportunity, and it would be wise to do so because the window may prove a narrow one."

Former state Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-S.C., tweeted Tuesday night that if Democrats took control of the Senate Breyer should retire the minute Biden takes office later this month.

"If we get to 50, I need Justice Breyer to announce retirement at 12:01pm on January 20th," Sellers said. "And I need us to nominate and elect some federal judges."

Breyer stated in December that he intends to retire "eventually," rather than serve for life like Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg did, but he said that "it’s hard to know exactly when" he would leave the court.

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Last year, Biden said he had been putting together a list of Black women who could possibly serve on the high court. Fallon specifically mentioned D.C. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as a possibility. Jackson, who is only 50 and clerked for Breyer, was reported to have been on President Barack Obama's short list of candidates before he nominated D.C. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland in 2016. Garland's nomination famously stalled when Republicans refused to hold a hearing on his nomination, opting to wait until after that year's presidential election. This allowed President Trump to nominate Justice Neil Gorsuch instead.

After Trump successfully confirmed three justices to the Supreme Court during his term in office, liberals, including Demand Justice, have called for sweeping changes to the high court, including expanding its size so a Democratic administration could add more liberal judges – a process commonly referred to as "court-packing."

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Fallon's organization currently calls for adding four seats to the Supreme Court, which would overcome the court's current 6-3 conservative majority.

Court-packing was a major issue going into November's presidential election. Biden had dodged questions about whether he was in favor of it, but eventually spoke out against it. Likewise, Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said in November that he would not support it, which would likely prevent a majority from approving any drastic measures.