Tuesday, after Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY), the first member of Congress to call for his retirement,released the following statement:
“Justice Breyer has served our nation and our judiciary honorably for nearly three decades. I’m grateful for his work and dedication to protecting our democracy.
But the fact is the far-right will stop at nothing to maintain its grip on the Supreme Court, something Republicans made clear when they refused to hold a single hearing on Merrick Garland’s nomination for more than a year, only to push through Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination as voting was already underway in the 2020 presidential election.
We can’t risk losing yet another seat on the high court to the radical, anti-democracy right, which is why I was the first Member of Congress to call on Justice Breyer to retire nearly a year ago, and why I commend his decision to do so today.
Now, President Biden can fill his seat with a nominee who will carry on Justice Breyer’s legacy of advancing equity and justice from the bench. That means nominating someone who is not hostile to the fundamental right to vote, who respects precedents like Roe v. Wade, who believes in the science of vaccines, and who respects the constitutional prerogatives of Congress.
While Justice Breyer’s decision has saved our Court from even further peril, the far-right Supreme Court continues to present an urgent crisis for our country and our democracy.
Critically, we also must act to restore balance and integrity to a judicial system that has been dominated by the increasingly fascist far-right for years, and that starts with expanding the Supreme Court.”
In April 2021, Jones, with Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Hank Johnson (D-GA), introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021, legislation to expand the Supreme Court by adding four seats. Days after introducing this bill, Jones became the first member of Congress to call on Justice Breyer to retire, prompting several of his colleagues to echo his call. Jones has been a leader on court expansion for over a year, even before coming to Congress.