The 83-year-old magistrate, who has held the post for nearly 28 years, intends to step down at the end of the current session, which ends June 30. He is expected to announce his decision to the White House shortly, several US media reported Wednesday, relying on anonymous sources.
Presidential spokeswoman Jen Psaki assured in a tweet
have no details or information at this point, emphasizing that it is up to the Supreme Court justices to decide when they want to leave and
to announce it as they see fit.
The Supreme Court did not respond to requests from theAFP.
But, without waiting, the Democratic leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said he was ready to organize
quickly a confirmation hearing for his successor.
Race against time for Democrats
Stephen Breyer, a brilliant magistrate known for his mischievous tone, has been under intense pressure for months, with several voices on the left calling on him to resign ahead of the November ballot in which Democrats risk losing control of the Senate.
The US Constitution provides that the nine wise men of the Supreme Court are appointed for life by the President and confirmed by the upper house of Congress.
And the Republicans do not hide that they could block a candidate chosen by Joe Biden if they regain the majority in the Senate, as they did in 2018 when Barack Obama tried to fill an open position by the death of a magistrates.
Stephen Breyer has so far refused to reveal his intentions, simply stating that he had no
no intention of dying in court. If her departure is confirmed, a black woman should, for the first time in history, enter the temple of American law.
Joe Biden, who was elected thanks to the support of black voters, has indeed promised that, if he had the opportunity, he would appoint an African-American to the high court. The names of Ketanji Brown Jackson, magistrate at the federal court of appeals in Washington, and Leondra Kruger, judge at the Supreme Court of California, circulate insistently.
A sharp right turn
Appointments to the Supreme Court, which arbitrates most major social issues in the United States, have been the subject of fierce political battles for several years.
During his tenure, Republican Donald Trump brought in three judges, which firmly anchored the institution in conservatism. Their influence has been particularly felt since September, with a sharp shift to the right.
The temple of law has already invalidated the vaccination obligation in large companies decreed by Joe Biden and seems ready to reconsider the right to abortion, to extend the right to bear arms or even to dismantle certain environmental regulations.
Even if the replacement of Judge Breyer does not change the balance within it, the announcement of his probable departure immediately put Washington in turmoil.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has previously hinted that no member of his party will support Joe Biden’s future nominee. His Democratic colleague Dick Durbin hoped that the next judge
brings diversity, experience and a balanced approach to justice within the Court.