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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announces his retirement

January 26, 2022

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New reports Wednesday indicate Justice Stephen Breyer plans to retire, raising questions about his replacement. President Joe Biden said he will wait for Breyer’s formal announcement. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer cited the president’s past words, indicating a desire to appoint America’s first Black woman to the court. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it’s too soon to comment.

Five Facts

  • Who is Stephen Breyer and what is his background?
  • When was Justice Breyer appointed to the Supreme Court, and by which president?
  • What are some notable positions Breyer has taken on key constitutional issues, according to this piece?
  • How did Breyer explain his judicial philosophy?
  • Why is Breyer’s retirement now important for the Biden administration?

Focus Questions

In this piece, Breyer is quoted as saying, “Many of our cases, the most difficult ones, are not about right vs. wrong. They are about right vs. right.” What do you think he means? What does this say about the role of a Supreme Court justice?

Media literacy: Why do you think the producers included so many testimonials about Breyer’s personality and character from people who had worked with him?

For More

For more on Justice Breyer’s retirement announcement, see this article.