Justice Breyer Opposes Court Packing, But Does Support One Possible Reform


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer made headlines on Sunday when he discussed a myriad of hot topics surrounding the Court and what the future might hold.

During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Breyer began by saying he is opposed to the Democrats’ idea of packing the Supreme Court.

“I think, well, people understand to some degree why it’s a good idea what Hamilton thought. And he thought the court should be there because there should be somebody – somebody who says when the other two branches of the government have gone outside the confines of this document,” Breyer said.

“Well, if one party could do it, I guess another party could do it,” he said. “On the surface, it seems to me you start changing all these things around and people will lose trust in the court.”

However, Breyer did say he is open to the idea of term limits instead of the current lifetime appointments.

“I think you could do that. It should be very long-term because you don’t want the judge who’s holding that term to start thinking about his next job. But it would make life easier for me,” Breyer said.


“I don’t intend to die on the court. I don’t think I’ll be there forever,” Breyer added.

“There are many factors, in fact, quite a few,” Breyer said. “And the role of court and so forth is one of them. And the situation, the institutional considerations are some. And I believe, I can’t say I take anything perfectly into account, but in my own mind, I think about those things.”

With those considerations in mind, he said, “I didn’t retire because I decided on balance I wouldn’t retire.”

“That’s the political environment,” Breyer said of the present state of affairs. “Now you may disapprove of it, I may disapprove of it, and if enough people in the public want it to change or be modified one way or the other, it will be.”

“I’m there for everybody. I’m not just there for the Democrats. I’m not just there for the Republicans. And I’m not just there because the president was a Democrat who appointed me,” he said. “It’s a very great privilege to be in that job. And part of it is to remember that you’re there for everyone. They won’t like what you say half the time – or more. But you’re still there for them.”



Late last month, Breyer revealed he is weighing “many considerations” about whether he should retire.

In an interview with the New York Times, the 83-year-old liberal justice said one of the factors he’s considering is who would Joe Biden nominate to be his successor.

Breyer said he did not want his potential replacement to undo his nearly two decades of work on the bench.

“I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die — hope not. There are a lot of blurred things there, and there are many considerations,” Breyer said.

Democrats want Breyer to retire sooner rather than later.

Joe Biden and the White House are worried that efforts to push Breyer into retirement could backfire.

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