Last updated on March 7, 2022
Justice Stephen Breyer is set to retire at the end of the 2021-22 Supreme Court term. He is the oldest member on the court at 83 years old. His retirement gives President Biden a chance to appoint a new justice on the Supreme Court. Biden made a campaign promise to nominate the first black woman to the Supreme Court.
Justice Breyer was nominated in 1994 by Bill Clinton after Justice Harry Blackmun retired. The vote on his nomination was 87-yes to 9-no, with 4 senators not voting. This overwhelming majority vote confirmed Steven Breyer’s appointment to the Supreme Court.
Justice Breyer had an impressive path to becoming a Supreme Court justice. He earned an AB (artium baccalaureus) from Stanford University, a BA from Magdalen College in Oxford, United Kingdom, and an LLB from Harvard University. He worked as a clerk to Justice Arther Goldburg in 1994.
Other than being the oldest judge on the Court, Justice Breyer is also known to be one of the most pragmatic currently serving judges. According to a report done by the New York Times, he “tended to fall disproportionately in the area of criminal procedure.”
He believed that political parties should not be a part of the court, and that decisions should be made based on personal belief. Breyer hoped to find common ground with all members of the Supreme Court, including the people on the “other side of the aisle.” This had an effect on what he has voted on and what he has chosen to speak out about.
Biden has promised to put the first black woman on the Court. Three people were in the running for the nomination: DC Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, and South Carolina US District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs.
On February 25th 2022, Joe Biden announced DC Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown as his nominee to fill Justice Breyer’s seat. As of the writing of this article, the nomination hearing has not yet been announced.
Judge Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Miami, Florida. She went to Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She clerked for Justice Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. Jackson also served on the U.S Court of Appeals in 2021 for which she was nominated by President Joe Biden.