Breyer suffers ageism attacks from Democrats

Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool

After Midnight Mitch told Hugh Hewitt that wasn’t going to commit to consider any Supreme Court nominees if the GOP retakes the Senate majority next year, the response from Democrats was something that can likely be taken as a sign of our times. When one of the top-ranking Republicans in the legislature does something that makes you angry, the obvious response is to start yelling at one of the most reliably liberal voices on the Supreme Court. The calls for Stephen Breyer to retire immediately were renewed with vigor, with some prominent liberals claiming that the elderly associate justice was “placing millions of lives in danger.” The breathless leftists were going so far as to suggest that Breyer is just being “selfish” and they even managed to get in a backhanded shot at the now deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (NY Post)

Democrats and progressives stepped up their calls for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down Monday after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not permit a vote on a potential Biden nominee if Republicans control the chamber in 2024…

McConnell’s comments led to outrage on social media, with Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), tweeting: “When I became the first person in Congress to call for Justice Breyer to retire now, while President Biden can still appoint a successor, some people asked whether it was necessary. Yes. Yes, it is.”

“Certainly feels good to yell online about this, but the only audience that really matters is Stephen Breyer, [Sen. Joe Manchin], [Sen. Kyrsten Sinema], and a handful of other Senate Dems who are hiding behind them,” added former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, referring to two Democratic senators who have spoken out against eliminating the filibuster. “Anyone got a plan to persuade that crew?”

Jon Favreau was far from alone in this verbal assault. John Lovett got in on the action quickly.

David Corn was the one who invoked the memory of RBG, and not in a kind way. He tweeted that Breyer ought to “learn from the RBG and Garland precedents.” The obvious implication there was that Ginsburg’s refusal to step off the stage in a timely fashion was the reason that liberals lost a seat on the court to the very conservative Amy Coney Barrett.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find this renewed explosion of liberal heads somewhat amusing. But at the same time, the ease with which so many of these people are turning on one of their own just smacks of hypocrisy and rancor. If any of them were making even the slightest effort to express (or at least feign) concern for Breyer’s health instead of simply insulting and verbally attacking him, they might have been able to save a bit of face. Unfortunately for them, Breyer appears to remain in admirably robust health, even at the age of 82. Just for the record, that’s only four years older than the man they just elected to be President for the next four years and you don’t hear anyone calling on Joe Biden to resign. (Yet…)

Under any other circumstances, these same critics would be crying ageism and prejudice against senior citizens if someone was going after Breyer in this fashion. But now that the man is seen as politically inconvenient, his many years of service and reliably liberal rulings are being flushed down the drain of history.

Do you suppose any of this is having an effect on Bryer’s decision-making process? He’s obviously aware of the stakes in this game, but he continues to insist that retiring for obvious reasons of political convenience would further damage the court’s reputation. Also, while I’m definitely doing nothing more than gazing into a crystal ball here, it’s hard not to imagine that a cascade of mean tweets from his former fans could stiffen his spine even further, leading him to stick around on the job just out of spite.