Associate Justice Stephen Breyer said his retirement from the Supreme Court will be effective Thursday after the court issues its final set of rulings for this term, the court announced as it released a letter to President Joe Biden from Breyer.
“The Court has announced that tomorrow, beginning at 10 a.m., it will hand down all remaining opinions ready during this Term,” wrote Breyer. “Accordingly, my retirement from active service . . . will be effective on Thursday, June 30, 2022, at noon.”
In January, Breyer informed Biden that he would step down at the end of the term in the summer if a replacement for him had been nominated and confirmed by the Senate. D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed by the Senate in April to replace Breyer.
His retirement comes after nearly 28 years of serving on the court and a recent series of historic rulings by the high court.
Breyer is one of three justices of the court’s liberal wing, who dissented from a ruling last week that overturned the constitutional right to an abortion established by the court in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
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Along with Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, the three wrote last week that “With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent.”
Breyer’s retirement does not shift the balance of the court’s 6-3 conservative majority. But his retirement does pave the way for Jackson to fill his seat, making history to become the court’s first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice.
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“It has been my great honor to participate as a judge in the effort to maintain our Constitution and the rule of law,” Breyer wrote Wednesday in his letter to Biden.