U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was ushered into retirement by “left-wing dark money groups,” according to a statement Wednesday by Carrie Severino, president of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network.
Breyer’s retirement was reported by the press before he himself made it, leading to speculation that it had been leaked by a White House eager to appease left-wing critics after its recent legislative failures — and worried about Republicans winning the Senate in 2022.
A little nudge… https://t.co/RZIafIzftL
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 26, 2022
A bit more clarity. I’m told Justice Breyer had firmly decided on his own to retire and that an announcement was due very soon. And while it appears someone jumped the gun on that, better to characterize him as surprised by events today than “upset”.
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) January 26, 2022
Left-wing groups and elected Democrats had been pressuring Breyer to retire for months, fearful of repeating the experience of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death in 2020, which allowed President Donald Trump to appoint a third Supreme Court justice. Several Democrats began pushing Breyer to retire last year; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) urged Breyer to retire “sooner rather than later” last July; and Breyer himself pushed back on the suggestion, noting “mean things” people had said.
One of the loudest voices urging Breyer’s retirement had been Demand Justice, a left-wing group formed to oppose Trump’s Supreme Court picks. The group proudly launched a “Breyer Retire” campaign just weeks after Biden took office.
Fox News noted that the Biden White House has close ties to Demand Justice, through several senior administration officials:
Both White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Paige Herwig, Biden’s point person on judicial nominations, previously worked for Demand Justice, which is part of a massive dark money network, the Sixteen Thirty Fund.
Demand Justice is open about seeking to overhaul the federal court system to advance progressive goals.
“They want to add seats to the Supreme Court, they want to add term limits for justices, they want to overhaul it and swing not just the Supreme Court but all levels of the judiciary more progressive,” Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of conservative-leaning Americans for Public Trust, told Fox News in an interview.
In her statement Wednesday, Severino speculated that Demand Justice and similar groups had a hand in Breyer’s retirement — and the way it was leaked, which seemed to force his hand. She said: “Justice Breyer prides himself on not being a partisan and can’t be happy about a retirement announcement that was leaked (very possibly by the White House). Maybe Joe Biden and left-wing dark money groups bullying him to retire wanted to be *sure* he followed through with it.”
She added: “It bears reminding that both Jen Psaki and Paige Herwig (WHCO advisor to Biden on judges) previously worked for Demand Justice, the left-wing dark money group that spearheaded the Retire Breyer campaign.”
The White House has declined to say much in public about Breyer’s retirement, noting that he had not yet officially announced it, though adding that it would stick to Biden’s promise to nominate a black and female jurist to the Court.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.