The liberal 82-year-old justice is the oldest member of the Supreme Court. Some liberal activists have appealed to Breyer to retire at a time when Biden’s fellow Democrats hold a narrow advantage in the Senate, which confirms nominees to the federal judiciary.
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday that was published Thursday, Breyer responded “no” when asked if he has decided to retire.
Breyer said health and “the court” are the two main factors that will determine when he steps down.
Breyer, who has served on the Supreme Court since 1994 and turns 83 next month, has been quiet about his plans since the high court’s most recent term ended earlier this month. The court’s next term begins in October.
During a speech in April, Breyer said it is vital that justices not appear to be motivated by political considerations.
Biden’s predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, appointed three members to the court during his four-year term in office, leaving the nine-member court with six conservatives.
His last appointment was conservative Amy Coney Barrett, who replaced liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she died at age 87 in 2020 after serving on the court since 1993.
Biden has promised to nominate a Black woman to fill a vacancy on the court for the first time, although her appointment would not alter the court’s ideological balance.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last month that Biden would not get a Supreme Court nominee confirmed in 2024 if Republicans recapture control of the Senate before then and a vacancy arises during that presidential election year.
“It’s highly unlikely. In fact, no, I don’t think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,” McConnell told syndicated conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Information for this report came from Reuters.