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Retired Justice Breyer Assigned Appeals Cases

Retired Justice Breyer (Credits: CNN)

Retired liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer intends to resume hearing cases by serving as a visiting judge on the federal appeals court in Boston.

Breyer, who spent 14 years on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before joining the Supreme Court in 1994, disclosed his plans during a podcast interview with Democratic strategist James Carville released on Thursday.

At 85, Breyer stepped down from the Supreme Court in June 2022, following the confirmation of President Joe Biden‘s nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the court.

Justice Breyer (Credits: NPR)

However, rather than leaving the judiciary entirely, Breyer transitioned to senior status, a form of semi-retirement for judges, maintaining his judicial duties and adherence to judicial standards.

“I’m a judge,” Breyer affirmed. “If you take senior status, you remain a judge. And not only do you remain a judge in terms of status, but I will probably go over and sit with the 1st Circuit next fall. So I’m still an active judge.”

The timing of Breyer’s involvement with the 1st Circuit was not specified. Court officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Breyer was appointed to the Supreme Court by Democrat former President Bill Clinton.

Stephen Breyer (Credits: BBC)

By joining the 1st Circuit as a retired Supreme Court justice, Breyer follows in the footsteps of his friend and former colleague David Souter, who frequently sits as a visiting judge on the Boston-based appeals court after leaving the Supreme Court in 2009.

The 1st Circuit, which hears appeals from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island, is the smallest of the 13 federal appeals courts. It has five active judges, all appointed by Democratic presidents. A sixth, nominated by Biden, is awaiting Senate confirmation.

Since leaving the Supreme Court, Breyer has returned to Harvard Law School’s faculty, where he served before joining the 1st Circuit in 1980. Additionally, he released a book titled “Reading the Constitution: Why I Chose Pragmatism, Not Textualism,” published last week.

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