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Breyer's retirement comes at crucial time for the Supreme Court

Stephen Breyer
Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Supreme Court
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Stephen Breyer

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.

Breyer’s departure won’t change the 6-3 conservative advantage on the court. It also makes conservative Justice Clarence Thomas the oldest member of the court at 73.

The 83-year-old Breyer was nominated to the high court by President Clinton in 1994 has been under pressure from the left to step down while President Biden can tap a replacement. Democrats haven’t named a justice in 12 years.

For analysis of the court’s changing dynamics, WAMC’s Ian Pickus spoke with WAMC commentator Stephen Gottlieb — professor emeritus at Albany Law school and the author of "Unfit for Democracy: The Roberts Court and The Breakdown of American Politics."

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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