Merkley: I Hope Breyer Won’t ‘Let His Seat Be Subject to a Potential Theft’

On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Cuomo Primetime,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) stated that he doesn’t think the Senate should tell judges when they should retire, but his “secret heart” is that some judges, namely Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, “will maybe have that thought on his own, that he should not let his seat be subject to a potential theft, that that was not the type of damage he’d like to see happen to the court.”

Host Chris Cuomo asked, “Are you in favor of going to some of the older…judges, and ones that were appointed by Democrats and saying, you should retire now and let us fill the vacancies, and then try to make a power play if you can get your own members on board?”

Merkley responded, “I’m not comfortable doing that. Because I don’t think the Senate should be telling the members of the Supreme Court when they retire in terms of the separation of power. I — my secret heart is that some members, [particularly] the 82-year-old Stephen Breyer, will maybe have that thought on his own, that he should not let his seat be subject to a potential theft, that that was not the type of damage he’d like to see happen to the court. But not our place, not the Senate’s place to carry that message.”

Cuomo then asked, “Justice Ginsburg, may she rest in peace, with reflection, do you wish that she had decided to retire during the Obama administration?”

Merkley responded, “100%. And I wish that her illness had not taken her life when it did and she made it a few months longer.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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