The left-wing campaign to pressure Justice Stephen Breyer to quit the Supreme Court will backfire, said Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz.
Over the past several months, progressives in Congress and left-wing opinion piece writers have increasingly called on Breyer—who is part of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing—to step down due to his age after the justice publicly rebuffed proposals to “pack,” or expand, the Supreme Court.
“They’re saying to him, ‘Look, quit, quit,’” Dershowitz said during an interview with WABC 770 on Sunday, “even though you’re healthy and well, and your appointment is for life because we want to make sure that President Biden gets to appoint your successor while there is still a majority of Democrats in the United States Senate.”
Dershowitz argued that Democrats “want to make the Supreme Court a kind of political institution” packed with individuals who share the same ideological viewpoint.
“Justices should sit as long as they are healthy,” Dershowitz said. “Oliver Wendell Holmes sat until he was over 90. [Louis] Brandeis sat until he was in his 80s. Some of our greatest decisions were written by octogenarians. And I don’t like the fact that there are people who want to pressure Justice Breyer to leave the court and make it even more political than it now is.”
The pressure campaign to get him to retire started months ago. In April, near the Supreme Court, a truck with the banner “Breyer, retire,” was seen driving around the building, according to photos and video uploaded at the time. In Congress, members of the “Squad,” including its de facto leader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in June, have made similar requests of the justice.
“It’s something that I’d think about, but I would probably lean towards yes,” the self-described Democratic socialist congresswoman told CNN earlier this month in response to a question about Breyer’s possible retirement. “But yes, you’re asking me this question, so I’ve just—I would give more thought to it but, but I’m inclined to say yes.”