Mar 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Breyer signals support for Supreme Court age, term limits

Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer signaled his support for age and term limits in the nation's highest court, in a Sunday interview with NBC's "Meet the Press."

Why it matters: Breyer's comments come as recent polling shows a majority of Americans support age limits in the court and the court has faced historically low approval ratings.

What he's saying: "I don't think that's harmful," Breyer told "Meet The Press" moderator Kristen Welker, adding that court justices could serve "long terms."

  • "Why long? Because I don't think you want someone who's appointed to the Supreme Court to be thinking about his next job," Breyer said.
  • "And so, a 20-year term? I don't know, 18? Long term? Fine. Fine," he said.

Breyer said term limits would have helped him avoid "going through difficult decisions" in deciding when it was time to retire.

  • "You've been there for quite a while, and other people also should have a chance at these jobs. And at some point, you're just not going to be able to do it," he said.

Flashback: Breyer retired in June 2022 and was replaced by Ketanji Brown Jackson.

  • Breyer was the oldest member of the Supreme Court at the time he retired, and had been under a pressure campaign to leave for months before he announced his decision.

Zoom out: 74% of Americans were in favor of putting age limits in place for Supreme Court justices, per a Pew Research Center survey published in September.

  • Democrats were more in favor of imposing age limits, at 82%, while Republicans stood at 68%.

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