COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Central Ohio political science experts said they were not surprised by the announcement Wednesday that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was retiring.
Political science professors from both Ohio State University and Capital University said in the coming days to hear about possible replacements put forth by President Joe Biden.
Two of those names that have been mentioned in the hours after the announcement include U.S. Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the court of appeals for Washington D.C., and Leondra Kruger, a justice on California’s Supreme Court.
Breyer has been on the court for nearly 30 years.
“Not a surprise that Breyer would want to retire at some point with a Democratic president,” said Dr. Nathaniel Swigger, associated professor of political science at Ohio State University. “Somewhat surprising he didn’t do it in Biden’s first year.”
“It doesn’t change the balance on the court,” said Dr. Suzanne Marilley, associate professor of political science at Capital University.
The Supreme Court is currently made up of six conservative and three liberal justices. All the professors point out Breyer’s retirement will not change that.
“It may be his thought this is the time to do it and I do want my seat to be filled by a Democrat… a Democratic president, I should say,” said Paul Beck, emeritus professor of political science at Ohio State University.
While campaigning for president, Biden said he would appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court if he had the chance.
“I can’t imagine he will not, particularly given all of the battles over voting rights that are going on right now,” Beck said.
“He will be held to delivering on that promise,” Marilley said.
These professors point out that the appointment will be part of Biden’s legacy. If the appointment is confirmed, they could be on the court decades after his presidency.