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The Biden administration will begin paying hundreds of dollars per month to millions of American families in July as it rolls out a refundable child tax credit that was created as part of the economic relief legislation Congress passed in March.
Democrats view the tax credit as central to their efforts to reduce poverty and income inequality in the United States. The program is expected to provide additional funds to 39 million households, and the Biden administration projects that it will lift five million children out of poverty this year.
Speaking at the White House on Monday, President Biden hailed the payments as a tax cut that would help the middle class.
“This tax cut sends a clear and powerful message to American working families with children. Help is here,” Mr. Biden said.
The Treasury Department said on Monday that the temporary payments of up to $300 per month would begin on July 15. Families with children under 6 years old can receive the full payments, while those with children over 6 can receive up to $250 per month.
The size of the payments will be reduced based on income levels.
The money is an advance on expanded refunds that taxpayers are eligible to receive under the American Rescue Plan. Families are getting half of the money as monthly payments this year and will get the rest when they file their tax returns next year. The law increased the maximum size of the tax credit to $3,600 this year.
Mr. Biden wants to extend the benefit as part of his recently proposed American Families Plan.
As with the economic stimulus payments, the child tax credit money will be distributed by the Internal Revenue Service through direct deposit, checks or debit cards.
“We are getting you a tax cut this year, now, when you need it,” Mr. Biden said.
Administration officials have quietly begun evaluating clemency requests and have signaled to activists that President Biden might start issuing pardons or commutations by the midpoint of his term, possibly before the 2022 elections.
The effort, which is being overseen by the White House Counsel’s Office and the Justice Department, is an implicit rebuke of President Donald J. Trump’s approach to clemency, which mostly bypassed the Justice Department and relied on an ad hoc network of friends and allies, resulting in a wave of late pardons and commutations to people with wealth or connections.
Mr. Biden’s team has signaled in discussions with outside groups that it is establishing a more deliberate, systematic process geared toward identifying entire classes of people who deserve mercy. This approach could allow the president to make good on his campaign promise to weave issues of racial equity and justice throughout his government.
Mr. Biden’s approach to his pardon powers is part of a long-term shift in his criminal justice policies. During his 35 years in the Senate, he helped fashion a string of bills that enacted harsh sentences for drug crimes and laid the groundwork for the mass incarceration that disproportionately affected Black communities.
On the campaign trail, Mr. Biden apologized for portions of one of the more aggressive tough-on-crime measures he championed, the 1994 crime bill. And as president, he has surrounded himself with supporters of overhauling the system.
President Biden expressed support for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas on Monday during a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
In a readout of Mr. Biden’s call, White House officials said the president “expressed his support for a cease-fire and discussed U.S. engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end.”
The statement fell short of an immediate demand for an end to Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza, which has been met with rocket fire by Hamas from Gaza into Israel. The White House also said Mr. Biden “reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks.”
The Biden administration had previously avoided the use of the term “cease-fire,” with top officials like Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken talking instead about the need for a “sustainable calm” and others talking about the need for “restraint.”
While a cease-fire would be welcomed by the White House, Mr. Netanyahu has in recent days made clear that he intended to continue bombing until Israel has destroyed Hamas’s stockpile of rockets, launchers, and the tunnels from which Hamas fighters are operating.
“We’re trying to degrade Hamas’s terrorist abilities and to degrade their will to do this again,” Mr. Netanyahu said on Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “So it will take some time. I hope it won’t take long, but it’s not immediate.”
So far, Israel has rejected efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United States to broker a cease-fire. And Hamas has continued its rocket fire into Israel.
In his conversations with Mideast leaders, Mr. Biden has instead tried to move the United States to a more neutral role as a peacemaker, after four years of former President Donald J. Trump favoring Israel.
On Saturday, the White House pointed to Mr. Biden’s recent “decision to resume assistance to the Palestinian people, including economic and humanitarian assistance to benefit Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza” and renewed his call for “a negotiated two-state solution as the best path to reach a just and lasting resolution.”
Twenty-seven Democratic senators and two independents who caucus with Democrats — a majority of Mr. Biden’s party in the Senate — signed a letter led by Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia on Sunday calling for “an immediate cease-fire.”
On Monday, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters that the administration would not reveal all the details of Mr. Biden’s communications with leaders in the conflict. “Our approach is through quiet, intensive diplomacy,” she said. “That is how we feel we can be most effective.”
The United States will send at least 20 million coronavirus vaccine doses in June to countries struggling against the pandemic, answering calls that the Biden administration isn’t doing enough to help countries that face dire shortages of vaccines and other treatments.
President Biden said on Monday that those 20 million doses, of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, would be in addition to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which the U.S. plans to donate once the vaccine is cleared for use by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not clear exactly how long it will take the F.D.A. to authorize AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
“We know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic that’s raging globally is under control,” Mr. Biden said during a news conference at the White House. “No ocean’s wide enough, no wall is high enough, to keep us safe.”
Mr. Biden’s announcement on Monday afternoon came not long after a World Health Organization news conference at which the director general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that countries with high vaccination rates had to do more to help countries that were being hit hard by the coronavirus, or the entire world would be imperiled.
“There is a huge disconnect growing where, in some countries with the highest vaccination rates, there appears to be a mind-set that the pandemic is over, while others are experiencing huge waves of infection,” Dr. Tedros said.
Dr. Tedros’s comments came shortly after the United States and Britain, which have seen a decline in cases and deaths in recent weeks, relaxed restrictions as the virus battered India and other Asian countries.
Variants like B.1.617, first discovered in India and recently designated a variant of concern by the W.H.O., are contributing to the spread of infections and worry many researchers.
Dr. Tedros called for well-supplied nations to send more of their vaccine supplies and allocations to harder-hit countries, and for vaccine developers and manufacturers to hasten delivery of hundreds of millions of doses to Covax, an international initiative dedicated to equitable distribution of the vaccine, noting an appeal by Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director.
Ms. Fore released a statement on Monday saying that Covax would soon complete delivering 65 million doses, but that it should have delivered at least 170 million and that the effort could be short by as much as 190 million doses by the time Group of 7 leaders gather in England in June.
“We have issued repeated warnings of the risks of letting down our guard and leaving low- and middle-income countries without equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics,” Ms. Fore wrote. “We are concerned that the deadly spike in India is a precursor to what will happen if those warnings remain unheeded.”
The vaccine shortage in many countries is compounded by the situation in India, Ms. Fore wrote, a global leader in vaccine production.
Mr. Biden said that America’s contribution of 80 million doses would be the most of any country, by five times.
“Just as in World War II America was the arsenal of democracy, in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic our nation’s going to be the arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world,” Mr. Biden said. “We’ll share these vaccines in the service of ending the pandemic everywhere.”
Mr. Biden said the vaccines would be shipped by the end of June, when the U.S. would have enough vaccine on hand for all of its citizens.
There is already a glut of vaccine in the U.S., and President Biden and his administration face a different problem: convincing the remaining unvaccinated people to get the shot.
Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidance to allow people who have been vaccinated to forgo their masks indoors and outdoors in many situations. The decision caused confusion in states and individuals, some who were eager to return to a semblance of normalcy and others who said they planned to stay masked indefinitely.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of C.D.C., said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the agency’s suggestions were “not permission to shed masks for everybody, everywhere.”
On Monday, Dr. Tedros’s message was more straightforward.
“No one is safe until we are all safe,” he said.
President Biden marked the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on Monday by calling on dozens of countries — and half of the states in the union — to strengthen anti-discrimination protections for the L.G.B.T.Q. community.
“Both Covid-19 and rising authoritarianism around the world continue to widen economic, social and safety gaps for LGBTQI+ people — and an epidemic of violence still rages, with a particular impact on the transgender community,” Mr. Biden said in a statement commemorating the day, which takes place on the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s move in 1990 to declassify “homosexuality” as a mental disorder.
“Around the world, some 70 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships,” he said. “And here at home, LGBTQI+ Americans still lack basic protection in 25 states, and they continue to face discrimination in housing, education and public services.”
The number cited by Mr. Biden refers to states that do not offer basic safeguards against discrimination, according to a report by the Movement Advancement Project, a nonpartisan think tank that analyzes local and state L.G.B.T.Q. laws.
Human rights groups fear that many states are moving in the other direction, driven by the conservative culture-war politics of many Republicans allied with former President Donald J. Trump. Recently, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have imposed restrictions on transgender athletes in school sports, and Arkansas banned gender-affirming treatment for transgender minors.
In the past year, predominantly Republican state legislators have introduced more than 250 bills that sought to restrict activities or roll back protections, according to Human Rights Watch, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy group.
Mr. Trump also marked the holiday when he was in office, but he sent mixed messages as president.
In 2019, he delivered a speech calling on nations around the world “to stop criminalizing homosexuality,” and expressed solidarity with “L.G.B.T.Q. people who live in countries that punish, jail or execute individuals based upon sexual orientation.”
But he did little to back up those words with action. Some of the world leaders he viewed as most friendly to him, including President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil — who once said he would rather have a dead son than a gay one — have been antagonistic to L.G.B.T.Q. rights.
Mr. Trump also courted religious conservatives, tried to ban transgender people from serving in the military, opposed bipartisan anti-discrimination legislation, and rolled back Obama-era initiatives to leverage federal civil rights laws to protect L.G.B.T.Q. people.
Mr. Biden has sought to reverse all of those policies.
The Supreme Court said on Monday that it would hear a case from Mississippi that could undermine Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.
The new case, concerning a state law that seeks to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, will give the court’s new 6-to-3 majority its first opportunity to address the subject, and supporters of abortion rights reacted to the development with dismay.
“Alarm bells are ringing loudly about the threat to reproductive rights,” Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “The Supreme Court just agreed to review an abortion ban that unquestionably violates nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent and is a test case to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
The court will hear arguments in the case during its next term, which starts in October. A decision is not expected until the spring or summer of 2022.
The new case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392, concerns a law enacted by the Republican-dominated Mississippi legislature that banned abortions if “the probable gestational age of the unborn human” was determined to be more than 15 weeks. The statute included narrow exceptions for medical emergencies or “a severe fetal abnormality.”
Lynn Fitch, Mississippi’s attorney general, said her state’s law was constitutional. “The Mississippi Legislature enacted this law consistent with the will of its constituents to promote women’s health and preserve the dignity and sanctity of life,” she said in a statement. “I remain committed to advocating for women and defending Mississippi’s legal right to protect the unborn.”
Last summer, the Supreme Court struck down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law in a 5-to-4 decision, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. providing the decisive vote. His concurring opinion, which expressed respect for precedent but proposed a relatively relaxed standard for evaluating abortion restrictions, signaled an incremental approach to cutting back on abortion rights.
That was before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September. Her replacement by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative who has spoken out against “abortion on demand,” has changed the dynamic at the court, diminishing the chief justice’s power to guide the pace of change.
The court’s decision to hear the Mississippi case, after considering it more than a dozen times at the justices’ private conferences, is an indication of sharp divisions among the court’s conservatives about how boldly to address the constitutional status of abortion rights.
Since the retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in 2018, state legislatures have enacted scores of abortion restrictions and bans in the hope that personnel changes at the court will spur it to reconsider its abortion jurisprudence.
President Donald J. Trump vowed to name justices who would overrule Roe, and three of his appointees now sit on the court. Two of them — Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh — dissented from the Louisiana decision last year.
Anti-abortion activists expressed excitement at the court’s decision to consider the case, saying they hoped the justices would overturn Roe and allow states to restrict abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
“There’s a great sense of inspiration across the country right now,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “This is the best court we’ve had in my lifetime, and we hope and pray that this is the case to do it.”
Joel Greenberg, the former confidant of Representative Matt Gaetz, pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court in Orlando to a range of charges, including sex trafficking a minor, as part of a plea deal that will require him to help in other Justice Department investigations.
“Are you pleading guilty to these charges because you are guilty?” said United States Magistrate Court Judge Leslie Hoffman.
“Yes,” said Mr. Greenberg, who was handcuffed and clad in a dark blue jumpsuit and white surgical mask.
Mr. Greenberg admitted in a plea agreement filed on Friday to multiple crimes. The hearing on Monday formalized that agreement, and Mr. Greenberg answered questions from a judge before admitting his guilt.
Mr. Gaetz is under investigation into whether he violated sex trafficking laws by paying the same 17-year-old for sex. Mr. Gaetz’s name was not mentioned in court on Monday or in the documents filed on Friday.
Mr. Greenberg faces more than 12 years in prison, but it is unclear when he will be sentenced. As part of his plea agreement, he needs to provide substantial help to the Justice Department’s prosecutions of others in exchange for help persuading a judge to give him a more lenient sentence. Defense lawyers typically want to delay the sentencing for as long as possible in order to give their clients time to help the government.
Mr. Greenberg, a Republican, was a newcomer to politics when he won a local election in 2016 to become the tax collector in Seminole County, Fla., north of Orlando.
Shortly after taking office, according to court documents, he began committing fraud and other crimes, including using taxpayer money to pay women for sex and buy sports memorabilia.
He was first indicted last June. At the end of last year, Mr. Greenberg began cooperating with the government as he realized that prosecutors had substantial evidence against him and that he could spend decades in prison if he lost at trial.
Mr. Greenberg’s lawyer, Fritz Scheller, had told reporters after a court hearing last month, “I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.”
In response to questions outside the courtroom on Monday about whether Mr. Greenberg would cooperate against Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Scheller provided a slightly more measured response.
“He is bound by it, the plea agreement — he will honor it,” Mr. Scheller said.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Native American Rights Fund filed a lawsuit on Monday challenging two new election laws in Montana as unconstitutional infringements on Native Americans’ right to vote.
Montana legislators enacted the laws — H.B. 176, which eliminated same-day voter registration, and H.B. 530, which restricted ballot collection — this spring, amid a national Republican push to tighten voting regulations in connection with President Donald J. Trump’s false claims of election fraud.
The lawsuit argues that the measures in Montana, where an estimated 6.5 percent of the population is Native American and district courts struck down another ballot collection restriction last year, are “part of a broader scheme” to disenfranchise Native voters. It argues that the laws violate the right to vote, freedom of speech and equal protection under the Montana Constitution.
“The legislature knows that Native Americans are very distant from registration opportunities,” said Jacqueline De León, a staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund. “They know that they have a very limited window to register and vote on the reservation, and they know that so many homes don’t receive residential mail delivery, and so they are again, I think, taking advantage of those barriers and amplifying them.”
The lawsuit was filed in Montana’s 13th Judicial District Court on behalf of the advocacy groups Western Native Voice and Montana Native Vote, as well as multiple tribes. The defendant is the Montana secretary of state, Christi Jacobsen.
Ms. Jacobsen said in a statement on Monday, “The voters of Montana spoke when they elected a secretary of state that promised improved election integrity with voter ID and voter registration deadlines, and we will work hard to defend those measures.”
Native Americans who live on reservations often have to travel long distances to reach an elections office or polling site, and many don’t own cars or can’t take time off work for what can be several hours round-trip. Many have relied on same-day registration in order to make that trip once instead of twice.
Keaton Sunchild, the political director at Western Native Voice, said that last year, nearly 1,000 Native Americans registered to vote after the deadline set under one of the new laws.
Other Native Americans vote absentee, which poses challenges because reservations often lack reliable mail service. As a result, get-out-the-vote groups often collect and return voters’ sealed ballots. One of Montana’s new laws forbids anyone to provide or accept a “pecuniary benefit” in exchange for collecting ballots.
Supporters of the laws say they will increase election security, though there is no evidence of any widespread irregularities in the 2020 election. The lawsuit says that “many tribal members rely on paid ballot collectors,” including ones hired by Western Native Voice and Montana Native Vote, which do extensive get-out-the-vote work.
H.B. 530 differs from the ballot collection law struck down last year in that it applies only to paid collection and not to, for instance, informally collecting ballots from neighbors. But Alora Thomas-Lundborg, a senior staff attorney at the A.C.L.U., said that because so many Native Americans relied on organized collection programs, it was “functionally the same” in its impact.
“We do see this lawsuit as an extension of the pattern that we saw in the earlier lawsuit,” Ms. Thomas-Lundborg said, “which is a clawing back of Native American voting rights in the state of Montana.”
Congressional Republicans are heading for another round of bruising fights this week over former President Donald J. Trump and his continued election lies, as Democratic leaders plan votes on bills to harden Congress’s defenses against violence and establish an independent commission that would investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Democratic leaders say both actions are necessary to understand and respond to the full scope of the attack and the baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election that fueled it. They struck a deal with a key Republican committee leader last week on the commission’s structure and a narrow mandate to look at the riot and its causes.
But the votes on that bill and a $1.9 billion security spending package will also drive fresh wedges through a Republican Party already battling itself over whether to call out Mr. Trump’s transgressions or continue to embrace his false statements.
Moderate Republicans appear ready to break with Mr. Trump to support the creation of the commission, if not endorse Democrats’ blueprint for keeping Congress safe. But Republican leadership, desperate to refocus the party on bashing President Biden before the 2022 midterm elections, has yet to take a position after earlier demands that any such panel look at left-wing violence unrelated to the assault.
“It’s important to get to the truth and find out just how widespread this thing was and make sure it never happens again,” Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Mr. Upton called recent attempts by his far-right colleagues to whitewash what happened on Jan. 6 “absolutely bogus” and said his party, including its House leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, should trust the commission process.
“It’s going to be fair,” he said. “It should get a good number of votes, and yes, I do hope Kevin McCarthy supports it.”
Mr. McCarthy has repeatedly shown that he is more interested in putting the entire episode behind him and cultivating Mr. Trump’s support, which he believes he needs to recapture control of the House next year. A decision by Mr. McCarthy or other Republicans to back the commission would almost certainly enrage the former president.
Mr. Trump, after all, remains fixated on vindicating his election claims and justifying his loss with false statements. “The Presidential Election of 2020,” he said in a statement on Saturday, “will go down as THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY!”
The debate is almost certain to churn up many of the arguments hurled last week over House Republicans’ decision to oust their No. 3, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, from party leadership because she refused to stop criticizing Mr. Trump and members of her party for their roles in the attack.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Ms. Cheney said Mr. McCarthy and her replacement as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, were complicit in Mr. Trump’s lies and risked driving American democracy into a death spiral. She argued that a commission was vital to fleshing out the full extent of Mr. Trump’s campaign to undermine the election results, including anything Mr. McCarthy or other Republicans knew about it.
“I cannot imagine a more important issue than whether or not the Republican Party is going to be a party that embraces and defends the rule of law and the Constitution,” Ms. Cheney said.
Ms. Stefanik pushed back in her own appearance on Fox News, saying that Ms. Cheney was “looking backward” and that party leaders were eager to work with Mr. Trump to address “election integrity” issues with the 2020 vote.
“He’s critical to the party,” Ms. Stefanik said. “He is the leader of the Republican Party. Voters determine the leader of the Republican Party, and they continue to look to him for his vision.”
Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday at a virtual event intended to encourage a group of eight Democratic senators of color to work closer together on behalf of minority communities.
The event, hosted by the AAPI Victory Fund, a political action committee focused on mobilizing Asian-American and Pacific Islander voters, comes amid a rise in reports of violence against Asian-Americans during the pandemic. Ms. Harris, whose mother was Indian, is the first vice president of Asian descent, and she is expected to address her heritage during her speech.
Event organizers also expect Ms. Harris to focus on the political power Asian-American voters wield — they turned out in record numbers during the last presidential election — as well as on the potential of minority lawmakers working together.
“I imagine she’ll touch on the fact that in order to stay unified, we need to build an allyship with other people of color and other underrepresented groups,” Varun Nikore, the president of the AAPI Victory Fund, said in an interview. “We need the broader spirit of partnering with other communities in this country, because most of our issues are the same.”
All eight Democratic senators of color are expected to attend on Wednesday. The group includes Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Alex Padilla of California, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico and Bob Menendez of New Jersey.
The group has issued joint statements condemning the recent spate of violence against Asian-Americans. Its members have discussed formally creating a caucus that would focus on issues faced by Black and Indigenous people and other people of color, but those plans have not yet been solidified.
Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state, is also expected to attend the event.
Ms. Harris, for her part, has been more vocal in recent weeks about the need to call attention to the violence and condemn acts of hate.
“This speaks to a larger issue, which is the issue of violence in our country and what we must do to never tolerate it and to always speak out against it,” Ms. Harris said in March, reacting to a spree of shootings at massage parlors in the Atlanta area that killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent. “I do want to say to our Asian-American community that we stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people.”
Republican lawmakers in Texas, following in the footsteps of their counterparts across the country, are pressing forward with a voting bill that could impose harsh penalties on election officials or poll workers who are thought to have committed errors or violations. And the nationwide effort may be pushing poll workers to reconsider serving their communities.
The often thankless task of millions of workers who administer the country’s elections has quickly become a key target of Republicans who are propagating former President Donald J. Trump’s lies about the 2020 election. In their hunt for nonexistent fraud, they have turned on those who work the polls as somehow suspect.
That attitude has seeped into new voting laws and bills put forward by Republican-controlled legislatures across the country. More than two dozen bills in nine states, either still making their way through legislatures or signed into law, have sought to establish harsh new penalties, elevated criminal classifications and five-figure fines for state and local election officials who are found to have made mistakes, oversteps or other violations of election codes, according to a review of voting legislation by The New York Times.
The infractions that could draw more severe punishment run the gamut from seemingly minor lapses in attention or innocent mistakes to more clearly willful actions in defiance of regulations.
With the threat of felonies, jail time and fines as large as $25,000 hanging over their heads, election officials, as well as voting rights groups, are growing increasingly worried that the new penalties will not only limit the work of election administrators but also have a chilling effect on their willingness to do the job.
Many of the liberals who say Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made a terrible miscalculation when she decided not to retire are now urging Justice Stephen G. Breyer to step down and let President Biden nominate his replacement.
The justice is 82 and has been on the court for nearly 27 years. In almost any other line of work, he would be well past retirement age. Justice Ginsburg’s death in September allowed President Donald J. Trump to name her successor and shifted the Supreme Court to the right.
“Breyer’s best chance at protecting his legacy and impact on the law is to resign now, clearing the way for a younger justice who shares his judicial outlook,” Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in The Washington Post this month.
But scholars who have studied justices’ decisions to leave the court said they had their doubts about the wisdom or effectiveness of such prodding.
“A justice, like any other federal judge, would rather confess to grand larceny than to confess a political motivation,” said Christine Kexel Chabot, who teaches at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law and is the author of a 2019 study called “Do Justices Time Their Retirements Politically?”
Justice Breyer has been particularly adamant that politics plays no role in judges’ work, and he recently suggested that it should also not figure into their decisions about when to retire.
“My experience of more than 30 years as a judge has shown me that, once men and women take the judicial oath, they take the oath to heart,” he said last month in a lecture at Harvard Law School. “They are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment.”