Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, nominated to the court by Bill Clinton in 1994, announced Wednesday his plans to retire, giving President Biden his first chance at a high-court pick.
Breyer, 83, will retire in the summer, giving Biden six months to vet and eventually nominate a successor.
The timing is crucial: Democrats hold the Senate now, but there are midterm elections looming in November.
Virginia’s two Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, thanked Breyer for his service on the high court, and offered statements on the path ahead to name a successor for his seat on the bench.
“I am very grateful to Associate Justice Stephen Breyer for his nearly 30 years of service on the Supreme Court,” Warner said. “With a distinguished career rooted in public service, Associate Justice Breyer stands as a model for young people all across America who seek to strengthen democracy. I trust that President Biden will carefully select a nominee to replace Associate Justice Breyer, and I look forward to closely reviewing the nominee’s qualifications and experience.”
“Justice Breyer has served admirably on this nation’s highest court for more than 27 years, and he will leave a lasting legacy of fairness and justice,” Kaine said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and with President Biden to confirm a qualified nominee to succeed Justice Breyer. It is critical that any Supreme Court Justice meets fundamental tests of honesty, integrity, and expertise.”
Story by Chris Graham