Court Battles

Justice Breyer set to retire from Supreme Court on Thursday

Justice Stephen Breyer on Wednesday said that his previously announced retirement from the Supreme Court would take effect at noon the following day, capping off a nearly 28-year career on the bench that concluded with a tumultuous court term dominated by the court’s six-member conservative supermajority.

The announcement by Breyer, 83, came in a letter to President Biden.

“It has been my great honor to participate as a judge in the effort to maintain our Constitution and the rule of law,” the liberal justice wrote.

Breyer is set to be replaced by the Senate-confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who once clerked for Breyer. She is expected to join Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in forming a three-member liberal minority on the court.

Breyer’s departure comes on the heels of the court’s monumental 6-3 decision last week to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the nearly 50-year-old federal right to abortion. Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan joined in a 66-page dissent.

“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent,” they wrote.

Jackson will fill Breyer’s vacancy on Thursday.

Updated at 3:45 p.m.

Tags Biden Elena Kagan Ketanji Brown Jackson Sonia Sotomayor Stephen Breyer Stephen Breyer Supreme Court
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