Liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire, letting Biden pick successor

FILE PHOTO: Group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Associate Justice Stephen Breyer poses during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., April 23, 2021. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung

WASHINGTON – Liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire when the court’s current term ends in June, lawmakers said on Wednesday, giving President Joe Biden the opportunity to appoint a successor who could serve for decades.

The retirement of Breyer, who is 83 and has served on the court since 1994, gives Biden a first chance to shape the nation’s top judicial body, whose 6-3 conservative majority has shown an increasing assertiveness on issues including abortion and gun rights. Biden’s Republican predecessor Donald Trump was able to appoint three justices during his four years in office.