United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has announced that he plans to retire at the end of the court’s current term.
Breyer was appointed by President Bill Clinton (D) in 1994 after Justice Harry Blackmun’s retirement. He was confirmed by a 87-9 vote in the United States Senate. Breyer is regarded as part of the “liberal” wing of the court and has tended to follow the “living constitution” school of jurisprudence.
President Joe Biden (D) has the constitutional authority to nominate a replacement for Breyer, and that nomination must be confirmed by the Senate. Biden is likely to appoint another “liberal,” so Breyer’s retirement is unlikely to result in significant changes to the ideological balance of the court.
Biden has promised to nominate a black woman to the court. In the public and private sectors it is usually illegal to hire on the basis of race or sex, but antidiscrimination laws do not apply to presidential appointments.