The Slatest

AOC Says She’s “Inclined to Say Yes” When Asked if Justice Breyer Should Retire

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a press conference at Jacobi Hospital in the Morris Park neighborhood on June 3, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a press conference at Jacobi Hospital in the Morris Park neighborhood on June 3, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

You can add Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to the list of Democrats who want Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down so President Joe Biden can appoint his successor. The lawmaker didn’t give a definitive answer when she was asked the question but she also made it clear which way she was leaning. “You know, it’s something I think about, but I would probably lean towards yes,” Ocasio-Cortez said when CNN’s Dana Bash asked her whether Breyer should retire. “I would give more thought to it, but I’m inclined to say yes.”

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Ocasio-Cortez gave the answer when Bash asked her straight out whether Breyer “should retire at the end of this term” as a follow up after she mentioned that Rep. Mondaire Jones, a Democrat from New York, had called for the 82-year-old justice to step down. Jones “has a point,” Ocasio-Cortez said. The lawmaker said Democrats “had very difficult experiences with making … the opposite mistake,” in clear reference to the way the successor to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed by former President Donald Trump. The way Republicans are attempting to make voting more difficult mean it’s even more important to make sure Biden can pick Breyer’s successor, the lawmaker said.

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“If Senate Democrats are not going to pass reforms on H.R.1, we cannot rely solely on a wish of winning elections, particularly in the Senate, when voting rights are under attack in Georgia, Arizona, and Texas, across the country,” Ocasio-Cortez said, referencing the broad voting rights bill that was approved by the House but faces an uncertain future in the Senate. “And if we’re not going to pass H.R.1, with the preemptive clauses that can roll some of that voter suppression attacks back, yeah, I believe that we should protect our Supreme Court, and that that should absolutely be a consideration.”

In April, Jones became the first lawmaker to publicly call for Breyer’s retirement. “There’s no question that Justice Breyer, for whom I have great respect, should retire at the end of this term,” Jones said. “I mean, my goodness, have we not learned our lesson?” Jones and Ocasio-Cortez are co-sponsors of a bill that would add seats to the Supreme Court

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