President Biden and his top aides are rebuffing activists who want the White House to pressure Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire, sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell Axios.
Both Biden and White House chief of staff Ron Klain believe applying such pressure — publicly or even privately — would politicize and damage the institution of the Supreme Court, the sources said. They’re also afraid it could backfire. Breyer turns 83 on Aug. 15 and has shown no inclination to vacate his seat for a younger liberal justice.
A White House spokesman, Andrew Bates, declined to comment on how others should approach the Breyer issue, but said, “The President’s view is that any considerations about potential retirements are solely and entirely up to justices themselves.”
Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar have applied some public pressure on Breyer without calling directly on him to step down. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) has led the charge on Capitol Hill, calling on Breyer to retire and blaming “senior-in-age justices” for denying Obama the opportunity to appoint more Supreme Court justices.
The pressure on Breyer has come mainly from advocacy organizations. The most aggressive has been Demand Justice, led by Brian Fallon, a former spokesman for Hillary Clinton and Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder. “For Democrats to sit on their hands and be content to potentially watch a slow-motion replay of the RBG situation play out just goes to show the folly of our party’s passive approach to the courts over the years,” Fallon told Axios.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DESERET.COM
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