Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced on Wednesday that he will officially retire from the high court on Thursday at noon.
“The Court has announced that tomorrow, beginning at 10 a.m., it will hand down all remaining opinions ready during this Term. Accordingly, my retirement from active service under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 371(b) will be effective on Thursday, June 30, 2022, at noon,” Breyer wrote to President Joe Biden in a letter dated June 29, 2022.
“It has been my great honor to participate as a judge in the effort to maintain our Constitution and the Rule of Law,” his letter concluded.
In January, Breyer, 83, notified Biden of his plans to retire, but was expected to remain on the court until the end of this term. Appointed by former President Bill Clinton, Breyer is one of three liberal justices on the Supreme Court, in addition to Obama appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Justice Breyer will be replaced by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was confirmed by the Senate in April on a vote of 53-47. All 48 Democrats and two Independent Senators voted in favor of Brown Jackson’s nomination, along with Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah.
Jackson graduated from Harvard. In 2009, then-President Barack Obama nominated her to serve vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission. She then went on to serve on the U.S. District Court for Washington D.C.
Democrats celebrated Jackson’s confirmation, while Republicans expressed concern over her extreme far left views.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn tweeted, “Americans want a Supreme Court Justice who will protect our children, liberties, and Constitution. Judge Jackson has made it clear she will be a rubber-stamp for the far left’s agenda, and I cannot in good conscience support her confirmation to the highest court in the land.”
Blackburn and Sen. Ted Cruz both raised questions during Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing about her sentencing decisions, including in cases involving child pornography.
Sen. Cruz noted that Judge Jackson has a “record of handing down significantly lower sentences in criminal cases, but especially lower sentences in cases involving child pornography.”
Sen. Blackburn echoed Cruz’s concerns, highlighting Jackson’s “consistent pattern of giving child porn offenders lighter sentences.”
“On average, you sentenced child porn defendants to over five years below the minimum sentence recommended by the sentencing guidelines,” Blackburn said in a statement. “You have stated publicly that ‘it is a mistake to assume that child pornography offenders are pedophiles.’”