Stirewaltisms: A Supreme Break for Biden


Sometimes, a Supreme Court vacancy can be a huge political advantage. Sometimes it can be a burden. But sometimes, it can be a vacation. And a getaway has to sound pretty marvelous to President Biden right now.

Let’s start with the obvious stipulation: Nobody yet knows for sure what the political ramifications will be of the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer. Presidents can make bad picks, candidates can have hidden problems, and events can change the context for a nomination. But as it is, this should be a welcome distraction for the beleaguered Biden, though probably not something that will much change the trajectory of this year’s elections.  

If there is such a thing as a provenance for a Supreme Court seat, this is primo left-wing property. Some of the biggest progressive judicial heroes stand in line behind Breyer: Oliver Holmes, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, and Harry Blackmun. This makes the pick easy in one way. Especially since a new progressive to replace Breyer won’t change the ideological balance of the court, there’s no case to be made for a moderate. 

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