Justice Stephen Breyer has told President Joe Biden in a letter Wednesday that his last day on the Supreme Court will be Thursday. Breyer decided to retire back in January, but the letter to Biden makes it official effective tomorrow.
“The court has announced that tomorrow, beginning at 10 a.m., it will hand down all remaining opinions ready during this term,” Justice Breyer wrote in his letter, “Accordingly, my retirement from active service… will be effective on Thursday, June 30, 2022, at noon.”
Breyer told President Biden in the letter, “It has been my great honor to participate as a judge in the effort to maintain our Constitution and Rule of Law.”
Biden announced Breyer’s retirement January 27.
Justice Breyer leaves a legacy that reflects the court he joined nearly three decades ago.
When nominated by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1994 Breyer was not a controversial choice. He was confirmed by the Senate 87-9.
Breyer’s successor will be Judge Katanji Brown Jackson, confirmed April 8 in 53-47 vote by a much more divided Senate.
Jackson is just the sixth woman to be confirmed to the Supreme Court in its history.
Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman Justice in 1981, and has been followed by Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 1993, Sonia Sotomayor in 2009, Elena Kagan in 2010 and Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.
Progressive activists had pressured Breyer to retire to ensure Democrats would be able to choose his replacement on the court.
Breyer has described differences among the Supreme Court Justices as philosophical rather than political.
According to ABC News, Breyer was asked in 2017 how he would like to be remembered and told the interviewer, “You play the hand you’re dealt. You’re dealt one. And you do the best with what you have. If people say yes, he did, he tried, he did his best and was a decent person, good.”
Copyright 2022 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.