June 29, 2022
WASHINGTON - 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 super-majority.
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 is expected to fill Breyer’s vacancy in coming months.