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Justice Stephen Breyer says Biden packing the Supreme Court will make people 'lose trust' in the institution

Business Insider
Business Insider
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
  • Justice Stephen Breyer said reforming the Supreme Court will erode public faith in the institution.
  • "What goes around comes around. And if the Democrats can do it, the Republicans can do it," he told NPR.
  • The comments come as progressive groups have revived calls to expand the court.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page .

Despite calls to expand the size of the Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Breyer has stood firm in his belief that such a reform will erode public faith in the institution.

"One party could do it, I guess another party could do it. On the surface, it seems to me that you start changing these things around, and people will lose trust in the court," Breyer said in an excerpt of an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace airing Sunday.

Breyer's scrutiny of court reform comes as progressive groups and some Democrats have revamped calls to "pack the court," meaning to add more justices to the bench in an attempt to balance its current 6-3 conservative majority. The push comes in light of the court's 5-4 decision last week to let a strict Texas law - that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest - stand.

Yet Breyer, the most senior liberal member of the bench, warned that any restructuring of the court by one party could lead to a future game of tug of war.

"What goes around comes around. And if the Democrats can do it, the Republicans can do it," Breyer told NPR's Nina Totenberg in an interview published Friday.

President Joe Biden has not embraced demands from some in his party to expand the court's size. But in April he established an independent commission to investigate court reforms. The bipartisan group of experts has met to discuss the court and is expected to release a report with its findings in the fall.

Breyer has recently made the rounds with news outlets to promote his forthcoming book, "The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics," which comes out next Tuesday.

Breyer, the the oldest justice on the court at age 83, has been pressed by reporters on when he plans to step down from the court. Since Biden took office, progressives have repeatedly urged Breyer to announce his retirement so that Democrats, who narrowly hold a Senate majority, could approve his successor and ensure a liberal justice will sit on the bench for decades to come.

But Breyer has kept quiet about his future plans. "When exactly I should retire, or will retire, has many complex parts to it. I think I'm aware of most of them, and I am, and will consider them," he told NPR.

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Comments / 274

f2dvd 2nd

we have already lost faith NO MORE APPOINTMENTS FOR LIFE NO ONE SHOULD HAVE THAT GUARANTEE It was suppose to make court independent and base decisions on law not political affiliation which is exactly what is going on REFORM AND ELECT

just an American 165

Justices should have to reapply every 10 should NEVER be a politically appointed position. Americans.. all Americans should vote them in.

Willie One

Supreme Court picks should last no more than 6 years at most. No Life Time Appointments. This gives the courts time to renew and reenergize the system.


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