Justice Stephen Breyer, widely known as one of the three liberal justices on the Supreme Court, warned against left-wing calls to pack America’s highest court with additional justices in order to weaken the conservative majority, explaining during a Tuesday Harvard Law School address that it would “diminish” confidence among the American people.
Breyer delivered the remarks on Tuesday in an address in which he said he aimed to “make those whose initial instincts may favor important structural or other similar institutional changes, such as forms of ‘court-packing,’ think long and hard before embodying those changes in law.”
The implications, the 82-year-old justice said, would be great and undermine the American people’s confidence in the courts and “in the rule of law itself.”
“If the public sees judges as ‘politicians in robes,’ its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power, including its power to act as a ‘check’ on the other branches,” Breyer explained.
Breyer also appeared to dismiss characterizations of a hyper-partisan court, which liberals say stands 6-3 in favor of conservatives, but which conservatives say is still shaky on whether the Court has a consistent conservative majority at all. However, the justice noted that the Court famously refused to hear cases related to the highly contested 2020 presidential election — a telling sign, in Breyer’s mind.