Breyer Patch

“I’ve made no decision except the one person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. It’s long overdue.” So said Joe Biden as Stephen Breyer made his retirement official. Here are some of the judges in contention.

+ To the average liberal, the need for Breyer to time his departure for this moment was wildly obvious. But, for most of the time he served on the bench, he wasn’t the type to make political calculations. Times change. The excellent Dahlia Lithwick: The Deep Irony of Stephen Breyer’s Bare-Knuckled Exit From the Supreme Court. “While Breyer was possibly a hopeless romantic—right to the bitter end—about the need for civics, cooperation, mutual respect, and dignity on the bench, he has proved to be the most realistic about assessing the moment in which we now find ourselves: a judiciary committee that may deadlock 11–11 and be saved by parliamentary maneuvers; two Democratic senators who are not all that interested in preserving voting rights; and the prospect that a July retirement might not have afforded the president enough runway to get someone confirmed by November. That is the world we now inhabit. That the justice for whom the notion of constitutional and judicial ‘hardball’ has always been anathema has just ended his Supreme Court career with the most hardball Supreme Court retirement in recent history speaks volumes about the current moment.”

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