Justice Stephen Breyer is set to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Breyer, who is 83 years old, is one of three justices currently on the Supreme Court who has been appointed by a Democratic president. The other six justices have been appointed by a Republican president.
Breyer’s departure will leave the first vacancy on the Supreme Court during the Biden administration. During the 2020 Presidential election, U.S. President Joe Biden pledged to fill the vacancy by nominating a Black woman.
Why is this a big deal for Biden?
Liberals (progressives) have called for Breyer’s retirement while the Democrats hold power in Congress. Specifically, liberals have called for a new justice to be chosen prior to the U.S. midterm elections in November, as there is a possibility the Democrats could lose control of the Senate.
If the Republicans gain control of the Senate, there is a possibility the person President Biden nominates to replace Breyer could be blocked.
Wait, what are the midterm elections?
The midterms are elections in the middle of a president’s four-year term. The midterms are elections for the entire House of Representatives, who only have two-year terms. The midterms also include elections for one-third of the Senate, where there are six-year terms, with a third of the chamber up for election every two years.
A president’s job is not on the line during the midterms because presidential terms last four years.
What is the significance of the Supreme Court?
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. and is fundamental in shaping how laws are interpreted and enforced.
All Supreme Court justices serve for life, meaning their appointment often lasts over the course of multiple generations.