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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Tuesday said efforts to expand the court's bench could damage public faith in the institution, stating that Americans rely on "a trust that the court is guided by legal principle, not politics," the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Former President Trump appointed three of the Court's nine justices — likely giving it a conservative bent for decades to come. Some Democrats have proposed expanding the court to balance the playing field.

The backdrop: Democrats argue two of Trump's appointees weren't fair play.

  • Trump's first appointee, Neil Gorsuch, got his seat after Senate Republicans blocked outgoing President Obama from nominating Merrick Garland in 2016, arguing that it was an election year.
  • But then in 2020, Senate Republicans allowed Trump to nominate now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett just weeks before the general election.

What he's saying: "If the public sees judges as ‘politicians in robes,’ its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power, including its power to act as a ‘check’ on the other branches," Breyer, who often sides with the court's liberal justices, argued in a lecture at Harvard Law School.

  • He added: "The court’s decision in the 2000 presidential election case, Bush v. Gore, is often referred to as an example of its favoritism of conservative causes. But the court did not hear or decide cases that affected the political disagreements arising out of the 2020 Trump v. Biden election."

Of note: Breyer, 82, is under pressure to retire now while the Democrats have the White House and the Senate, in order to ensure that he's replaced by a liberal justice.

Go deeper

Florida court: Police who shoot citizens can remain anonymous

Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Citing Marsy's Law — Florida's constitutional amendment granting privacy rights to crime victims — the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday that municipalities cannot make public the names of police who shoot citizens if the police officers themselves were crime victims, which is almost always the case in police shootings.

What happened: Two Tallahassee police officers who fatally shot suspects in different incidents argued in a lawsuit that the city shouldn't release any information that would personally identify them as the shooters.

Trump: Georgia voting law doesn't go far enough

Donald Trump in Feb. 2021. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday wrote in a statement that it was "too bad" that the GOP-sponsored law restricting voter access in Georgia "didn't go further."

Why it matters: The law has garnered widespread condemnation from civil rights activists, Democrats, and more than 100 businesses and CEOs for instituting stricter ID requirements and limiting the use of ballot drop boxes, among other restrictions.

Garland says DOJ will strengthen rules on obtaining lawmakers' records

Photo: Tom Brenner-Pool/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday he has directed Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco to "evaluate and strengthen the department’s existing policies and procedures for obtaining records" from members of Congress.

Why it matters: At Garland's direction, the Justice Department's inspector general has opened an investigation into the Trump-era DOJ's use of secret subpoenas to obtain data belonging to House Democrats.