Liberal media continues to vent over Stephen Breyer staying on Supreme Court

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MSNBC writer Chris Geidner became the latest liberal media figure Tuesday to vent over Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s decision to remain on the nation’s highest court as he faces calls from the left to retire in favor of a younger progressive.

“What makes Breyer think he’ll be more successful with abortion rights than with those major cases this past term, let alone other issues where he found himself in the minority on an even less conservative court in the past? Why would he be better at doing so than a new, younger justice — particularly when Biden has pledged that his first nominee to the Supreme Court will be a Black woman?” Geidner asked in a Tuesday column.

Geidner argued the liberal justice’s decision, at best, showed he was “gambling” that the “good” he can do in upcoming decisions as one of its senior members would outweigh the risks involved with him remaining on the court. 

“The kindest interpretation of Breyer’s move — or lack thereof — is that he’s gambling that the good he can do by staying to advance his goals outweighs the risks that staying poses to those same goals,” Geidner wrote. 

He claimed that Breyer, who turns 83 next month, was likely weighing a couple of points in making his decision: His replacement wouldn’t change the ideological balance of the court and that any replacement would have to adjust to the dynamics of actually being on it. 

He downplayed Breyer’s view that the court was non-political in nature, calling it “a position that can be strongly disputed,” and predicted he would want to stay on “for at least the next term” to help decide major cases addressing things like abortion, gun rights, the death penalty, and Puerto Rico. 

“As the court takes on these topics again, Breyer likely believes … that he’s in a better position than anyone else to help protect liberal interests on those issues,” Geidner wrote. “Even if Breyer is right, though, it still leaves him — and the country — dependent on three gambles on his part breaking his way.” 

He listed the three “gambles” as, one, Biden’s potentially shrinking ability to appoint Breyer’s successor considering the Senate could fall back into Republican control in the midterms, two, Breyer’s actual ability, as part of the liberal minority, to stop the conservative members “when they want to act,” and three, what he claimed was the threat against democracy by the Republican Party following the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. 

Geidner’s column joins a long list of liberal journalists who’ve called on Breyer to retire, including The Los Angeles Times editorial board, who wrote that Breyer was “in denial” about the politicization of the court.

Other outlets, including The Washington Post, The Nation and The New Republic have all published columns calling for Breyer to consider moving on from the court.

President Donald Trump appointed three Supreme Court justices during his four years in office, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett shortly before the 2020 election, following the death of liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September.

Sfter Breyer’s most recent refusal to say when he would retire, liberal journalists took to social media to air their frustrations. 

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