It was very disappointing news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has announced he has no plans to retire, as he reaches age 83 on August 15.
Breyer has served long and well on the Supreme Court since being appointed by Bill Clinton in 1994.
Already he is one of the longest serving Justices in American history, 25th longest of a total of 115 Justices who have served.
His arguments for remaining on the Court are that he likes being the Senior Justice of the liberal wing, and that his health will determine how long he stays.
But he fails to recognize that health can change rapidly, and when one is in his or her 80s, he or she needs to consider the impact of a sudden death, as with Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s sudden passing, which led to a rapid appointment of a Justice (Amy Coney Barrett) who was rammed through in record time, instead of leaving the appointment to the winner of the Presidential Election of 2020.
With a Court now more conservative and right wing than it has been since the 1930s, it is alarming to think that Breyer is gambling the effect on the liberal wing of the Court by refusing to retire.
Joe Biden should be given the opportunity to replace him, but if even one Democratic Senator dies before 2023, then the Republicans will take control of the US Senate, and prevent any Biden nominee.
And if the Republicans win the Senate in 2022, then Joe Biden will be denied any appointment, even if a vacancy, as Mitch McConnell denied Barack Obama the opportunity to replace Antonin Scalia with Merrick Garland in 2016!