Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Breyer Suggests Extended Term Limits for Justices

In a recent appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer expressed openness to the idea of term limits for justices, provided the terms were sufficiently lengthy. The discussion, centered around Breyer’s forthcoming book on the Constitution and his preference for pragmatism over textualism, delved into various aspects of judicial tenure, including age limits and retirement decisions.

When asked by host Kristen Welker about the possibility of age limits influencing court decisions, particularly in light of the Dobbs v. Jackson case, Breyer proposed longer terms, such as 20 or 18 years, to mitigate concerns about justices pondering their next career moves while on the bench.

Reflecting on his own retirement decision in 2022 at the age of 83, Breyer admitted to the difficulty of stepping down and acknowledged missing his role on the Court. However, he emphasized the importance of allowing others opportunities in the judiciary and recognized the inevitability of aging impacting one’s ability to serve effectively.

Breyer officially retired on June 30, 2022, and his vacancy was subsequently filled by President Joe Biden’s nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

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