Politics

‘I’ll Make A Decision’: Justice Stephen Breyer Weighs In On His Potential Retirement

ERIN SCHAFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer remains undecided about his retirement plans, saying in an interview published Friday that there are “many considerations” playing a part in his eventual decision.

Breyer, 83, is the oldest member of the court, and he has yet to decide when to retire, despite increasing pressure from liberals for him to do so.

“There are a lot of blurred things here, and there are many considerations,” Breyer told The New York Times. “They form a whole. I’ll make a decision.”

Despite Breyer’s statements, he acknowledged the involvement of politics in his retirement decision. Invoking the late-Justice Antonin Scalia’s words, Breyer stated that achieving his preferred political outcomes “will inevitably be in the psychology” of his final decision.

“[Scalia] said, ‘I don’t want somebody appointed who will just reverse everything I’ve done for the last 25 years,’” Breyer recalled. (RELATED: Breyer Weighs In On His Potential Retirement)

The Supreme Court’s nine justices in April. Chief Justice John Roberts sits front-and-center, with Breyer sitting one seat to the right. (Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Breyer, nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994, added that he wanted to retire before death, unlike Scalia and the late-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

“I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die – I hope not,” Breyer said.

He also expressed wariness of proposals to expand the court “to overcome what is now a 6-to-3 conservative majority,” warning those in favor to “think twice, at least.” Breyer warned that expanding the court risks undercutting “public faith in the court” and imperiling “the rule of law.” (RELATED: Breyer: Packing The Court Could Erode Confidence In It)

“If A can do it, B can do it. And what are you going to have when you have A and B doing it?” Breyer asked. “Nobody really knows, but there’s a risk, and how big a risk do you want to take?”

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