EFG Magazine

The Morning Newsletter

The latest on the coming Supreme Court nomination.

Stephen Breyer at home in 2015.
Stephen Breyer at home in 2015.
Stephen Breyer at home in 2015. Credit... Damon Winter/The New York Times

David Leonhardt

Jan. 27, 2022

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Stephen Breyer has just done something that liberal Supreme Court justices in the modern era don’t always do: He has timed his retirement so that an ideologically similar justice is likely to replace him.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not do so, choosing to stay on the court even when her health was fragile, Barack Obama was president and Democrats controlled the Senate. William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall did not do so either, retiring during George H.W. Bush’s presidency instead of trying to wait for the 1992 election. And Earl Warren, the liberal chief justice of the 1950s and ’60s, announced his retirement so late in Lyndon Johnson’s presidency that Richard Nixon was able to fill the slot after Johnson fumbled the nomination process.