Politics Stephen Breyer: Supreme Court justice plans to retire
Federal appeals court sends abortion case to Texas Supreme Court
In the latest setback for abortion clinics that have challenged in federal court Texas' six-week ban on the procedure, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday night that it was sending the case to the Texas Supreme Court. © MANDEL NGAN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images An abortion rights activist holds placards outside of the US Supreme Court before the Court struck down a Texas law placing restrictions on abortion clinics on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Justice Stephen Breyer plans to retire, giving President Joe Biden a chance to nominate to the bench, a well-placed source familiar with the matter told CNN.
Breyer, 83, a consistent liberal vote on the Supreme Court with an unflappable belief in the US system of government and a pragmatic view of the law, has served nearly three decades on the bench.
Breyer is expected to stay on until the end of the term and a replacement is confirmed.
Appeals court detours Texas abortion ban case to state Supreme Court
5th Circuit's decision, 2-1, likely prolongs enforcement of unusual anti-abortion law.The move by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals effectively prolongs the litigation over the unusual anti-abortion statute, leaving in place a law that has led to a dramatic reduction in the number of abortions performed in the state since the measure took effect in September.
Breyer's decision gives President Joe Biden his first opportunity to name a nominee to the Supreme Court. Although Biden's pick will not change the balance of the court, given that Breyer will almost certainly be replaced with a fellow liberal, the new nominee is expected to be much younger and could serve on the court for decades. The court currently has six conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents, and three liberals appointed by Democrats.
Appointed in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, Breyer has sought to focus the law on how it could work for the average citizen. He was no firebrand and was quick to say that the Supreme Court couldn't solve all of society's problems. He often stressed that the court shouldn't be seen as part of the political branches but recognized that certain opinions could be unpopular.
Pissarro painting stolen by Nazis at center of Supreme Court arguments
Pissarro painting stolen by Nazis at center of Supreme Court argumentsIn a case involving a Nazi confiscation of a Jewish family's painting, the Supreme Court on Tuesday grappled with how federal courts should decide whether California law or a foreign country's law should apply.
"It is wrong to think of the court as another political institution," Breyer told an audience at Harvard Law School in 2021. "It is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior league politicians."
"If the public sees judges as 'politicians in robes,'" he warned, "its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the court's power, including its power to act as a 'check' on the other branches."
On the campaign trail, Biden vowed that if he were to get a vacancy he would fill it with an African American woman, which would represent a historic first for the high court. Potential candidates include Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, who was confirmed last year to the powerful DC-based appellate court. She once served as a law clerk for Breyer, and also worked as an assistant federal public defender and served on the US Sentencing Commission.
Analysis: Supreme Court ruling is a bitter legal and personal blow to Trump
The Supreme Court's refusal to block the release of Trump White House documents to the House January 6 committee represents a huge defeat for the ex-President's frantic effort to cover up his 2021 coup attempt. © Evan Vucci/AP The major blow on Wednesday -- yet another instance of the courts rebuking Donald Trump's attempts to use them for his own political gain -- will allow the committee to go even deeper inside his West Wing and understand what was going on before and during his mob's attack on the US Capitol.
Another possibility would be Justice Leondra Kruger, 45, who serves on the California Supreme Court and is a veteran of the US Solicitor General's office. Members of Biden's team have previously stressed that they are seeking diversity for judicial appointments and that they are prepared to break from the norm and consider those whose legal experiences have been historically underrepresented on the federal bench, including those who are public defenders and civil rights and legal aid attorneys.
The news comes as the court's conservative majority has flexed its muscles in a blockbuster term. The justices have already heard one case that could overturn Roe v. Wade and another that could expand gun rights. Recently, Breyer joined his liberal colleagues, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, in a bitter dissent when the conservative majority blocked Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers. Breyer also dissented last year when the court allowed a Texas six-week abortion ban to remain in effect. The law is the strictest in the nation and bars abortion before most women even know they are pregnant.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
Biden reaffirms pledge to nominate Black woman to Supreme Court .
President Biden on Thursday said he would nominate a Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, following through on a key campaign pledge.Biden announced Breyer's retirement during an event with the jurist at the White House, with the president saying he planned to pick a nominee before the end of February."I've made no decision except one: The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character experience and integrity," Biden said. "And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. It's long overdue in my view.