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Dems wrestle with whether to nudge a justice off the Supreme Court

Published on April 14, 2021 11:31 AM
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STORY BY BURGESS EVERETT, MARIANNE LEVINE AND LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ

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Justice Stephen Breyer is 82 years old, and Democrats are one Senate seat away from losing it to Republicans. Stephen Breyer supreme court retirement

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Democrats are grappling with judicial déja vu: an ageing liberal Supreme Court justice, a paper-thin Senate majority and activist pressure to swing the bench leftward.

Justice Stephen Breyer is 82 and Democrats are a single Senate seat away from ceding control back to Republicans. It's a familiar and uncomfortable bind for a party that barely nudged former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to retire the last time they controlled both the Senate and the White House — then watched the Supreme Court veer to the right.

But even as some liberal groups boot up a "Breyer Retire" campaign, the Democratic Party is sensitive to the justice's predicament. That's why neither Democratic lawmakers nor President Joe Biden is putting overt retirement pressure on the Bill Clinton appointee while their party still holds the Senate. But Breyer's future is on everyone's minds, maybe even the justice's own.

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