SCOTUS Justice Stephen Breyer to Retire

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U.S. Supreme court justice Stephen Breyer is retiring at the end of the court’s current session. That news was first reported earlier today. A formal announcement is expected tomorrow. We spoke with ASU law professor Paul Bender about the impact of justice Breyer’s retirement on the court.

Liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring, giving President Joe Biden an opening he has pledged to fill by naming the first Black woman to the high court. We spoke with ASU Law professor Paul Bender.

Breyer was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States by President Bill Clinton in 1994. He was sworn in August of that year. Bender said he is a moderate liberal who “developed a reputation of being a consensus builder.”

Bender described him as someone who is “not a combative person” which helps him work with other justices on compromise. Whereas Biden promised to nominate a black woman, Bender hopes this nominee will nonetheless retain Breyer’s ability to work with all sides.

“I understand why he wants to put black women on the court,” Bender said, “It’s a good idea… I hope he picks them adding in mind the possibility that that person is a consensus builder.”

Bender hopes democrats will not “hold out for as liberal a person they could fine” fearing that would cause an even greater divide. However, he does not believe the court is as politicized as people believe.

Bender said “recent decisions indicate that may not be true” about conservative court,” Bender said, “the Trump appointees are all people who are not rigid in what they’re doing.” Adding Roberts and Kavanaugh have shown a tendency to join with the liberals.


Paul Bender, Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

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