SAN ANTONIO – The announcement of the retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the few remaining liberals on the court, was disappointing to Al Kauffman, a professor of law at the St. Mary’s University School of Law.
“It will be a real loss,” Kauffman said. “His position on the court was very important and very respected.”
Kauffman said Breyer, who served on the high court for 28 years, often was able to get justices to agree on decisions promoting equality.
“His legacy is that he was one of the greatest champions of equality,” Kauffman said.
He said Justice Breyer respected people from a broad spectrum of backgrounds.
“His opinions showed that he very much supported opinions which respected people of minority groups, whatever that minority group is,” Kauffman said.
Justice Breyer said at Thursday’s announcement alongside President Joe Biden that he would step down from the high court after his successor is confirmed.
The president said he is committed to his campaign promise of nominating the first African-American woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I will nominate a historic candidate, someone who is worthy of Justice Breyer’s legacy,” Biden said.
But unlike when Breyer was confirmed with widespread bipartisan support in 1994, Kauffman said the last three confirmations to the U.S. Supreme Court encountered political opposition.
“I understand President Biden’s position of trying to reach across the aisle,” Kauffman said. “This would be one time where possibly he could do that.”
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