‘They’d Have To Be Long’: Former Supreme Court Justice Suggests He Would Be Okay With Term Limits

[Screenshot/NBC News/"Meet the Press"]

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer suggested Sunday on NBC News that he would be okay with term limits applied to the court, as long as they had an extended amount of time in the position.

Breyer appeared on “Meet the Press” to discuss the release of his upcoming book about the Constitution and why he leans towards pragmatism over textualism. As NBC host Kristen Welker questioned the former justice on the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision, she pressed Breyer on his thoughts regarding an age limit that could have possibly changed the outcome. (RELATED: ‘A Friend Of Mine’: Former Justice Breyer Says Clarence Thomas Is A ‘Man Of Integrity’)

“Dobbs happened in part, obviously, because Amy Coney Barrett replaced the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court who passed away while she was still on the bench. Do you think there should be age limits on the Supreme Court?” Welker questioned.

Breyer stated that while he doesn’t believe it would be “harmful,” he would suggest longer terms, such as 20 or 18 years, that way the person who filled the position wouldn’t be “thinking” about their next job.

“I’ve said, and I think it’s true, I don’t think that’s harmful. I mean, if you had long terms, for example, they’d have to be long. Why long? Because I don’t think you want someone who’s appointed to the Supreme Court to be thinking about his next job. So a 20-year term — I don’t know, 18-long-term, fine, fine. I don’t think that would be harmful. I think it would have helped in my case. It would have avoided for me going through difficult decisions when you retire. What’s the right time and so that would be okay,” Breyer stated.

Welker continued to press Breyer on the decision to step down from the bench in 2022, asking him if it was a “difficult” decision and if he missed the position.

“How difficult was it for you to decide to retire?” Welker questioned.

“It’s difficult,” Breyer responded.

“Do you miss being on the Supreme Court?” Welker pressed

“Of course, but yes. But, you know, human life is tough and more over you get older, and 85, which I am now, 83. I mean you see it’s — you’ve been there for quite awhile and other people also should have a chance at these jobs and at some point you’re just not going to be able to do it. I think I could do it, but nonetheless there comes a time you have to figure out what’s the right time, there are lots of considerations,” Breyer stated.

Breyer officially retired from his position on the court June 30, 2022 at 83-years-old and was later replaced by President Joe Biden’s nomination, then-Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.