Appeals court detours Texas abortion ban case to state Supreme Court
5th Circuit's decision, 2-1, likely prolongs enforcement of unusual anti-abortion law.The move by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals effectively prolongs the litigation over the unusual anti-abortion statute, leaving in place a law that has led to a dramatic reduction in the number of abortions performed in the state since the measure took effect in September.
President Joe Biden just received an opportunity to nominate his first justice to the Supreme Court, and a major test of his ability to navigate the U.S. Senate: Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, is set to retire at the end of this term. © Provided by The Daily Beast Pool via Getty
NBC News first reported Breyer’s impending retirement on Wednesday. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the news, which set off a flurry of activity in the West Wing, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted shortly after that “it has always been the decision of any Supreme Court Justice if and when they decide to retire, and how they want to announce it, and that remains the case today.”
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It is unclear whether Biden was aware of Breyer’s intentions before they became public. The White House, Psaki added in her statement, had “no additional details or information to share.”
While a Biden-nominated justice would not shift the Supreme Court’s current ideological tilt—conservative-leaning justices outnumber liberal-leaning ones six to three—it would prevent the risk of Breyer being replaced under a potential Republican successor, which liberal legal scholars have warned of since Biden’s inauguration.
Breyer has served on the Court for 27 years. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 in a nomination process overseen by Biden, then the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He’s considered the oldest of the Court’s liberal wing, which also includes Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Analysis: Supreme Court ruling is a bitter legal and personal blow to Trump
The Supreme Court's refusal to block the release of Trump White House documents to the House January 6 committee represents a huge defeat for the ex-President's frantic effort to cover up his 2021 coup attempt. © Evan Vucci/AP The major blow on Wednesday -- yet another instance of the courts rebuking Donald Trump's attempts to use them for his own political gain -- will allow the committee to go even deeper inside his West Wing and understand what was going on before and during his mob's attack on the US Capitol.
Some of his most prominent decisions included his majority opinion last month defending the Affordable Care Act, writing in California v. Texas that the defendants lacked standing. He also wrote in favor of abolishing the death penalty, questioning its constitutionality in the dissenting opinion in 2015’s Glossip v. Gross.
Breyer often spoke out on other liberal standpoints through his opinions. In the 2004 Vieth v. Jubelirer dissent, he condemned political gerrymandering, writing, “Sometimes purely political ‘gerrymandering’ will fail to advance any plausible democratic objective while simultaneously threatening serious democratic harm.”
Breyer’s pending retirement comes after the court was crafted into an ultra-conservative majority during Donald Trump’s administration. Some Democrats had been urging Breyer to resign so Biden could appoint a younger, more liberal judge in his place—and avoid a repeat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s refusal to retire, ultimately leading to the appointment of conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Kenrich Williams: I would like to retire with the thunder
It’s no surprise why Kenrich Williams, a 27-year-old with a bargain $ 2 million contract for this season and next, is going to be pursued by playoff contenders as the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline nears. The rebuilding Thunder might do well by dealing him for more draft picks, or perhaps a promising young player. Williams, though, has no interest in being traded. “I want to be here with the Thunder,” Williams told The Oklahoman on Friday. “This might sound far fetched, but I would like to retire here with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“If Breyer is followed by a justice in Barrett’s mold, the Supreme Court’s ideological balance would be further skewed,” Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece last year as retirement speculation intensified.
His retirement also puts Biden on the opposite end of the role he once held. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden presided over Supreme Court nominations, leading the hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas and Ginsburg. But the Senate’s composition has changed drastically since then.
During the Thomas hearings, it consisted of 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans, while the Breyer and Ginsburg nominations faced an even wider gap: 58 Democrats and 42 Republicans. In the current evenly split Senate, one Democratic defection could topple a nomination.
Liberal judicial groups were quick to applaud Breyer’s retirement, seeing it as an important first step to staunching the bleeding on a host of cases they see as critical.
“It is a relief that President Biden will get the opportunity to choose the next justice on the Supreme Court while the Senate is in Democratic hands,” said Demand Justice executive director Brian Fallon in a statement. “Justice Breyer’s retirement is coming not a moment too soon, but now we must make sure our party remains united in support of confirming his successor.”
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Joe Manchin says he would be open to voting for a Biden SCOTUS pick who is more liberal than he is .
"It's not too hard to get more liberal than me," Manchin said, adding that he would vote for a SCOTUS pick with differing "philosophical beliefs."Manchin made these comments during a Thursday interview with West Virginia MetroNews' "Talkline" host Hoppy Kercheval.