The Maine Idea: The choice Biden must make for Supreme Court

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Rummaging through the dusty files of judicial history, as I’ve been doing, has produced an insight about our contemporary situation: who President Biden should make his first nominee to the Supreme Court.

Stephen Breyer is under heavy pressure to step down. Last week, he told a CNN reporter at a coffee shop in New Hampshire he’s undecided – which means he’s thinking hard.

Some veteran court observers consider his retirement near-certain – the only question is when. If they’re right, it could come at any time, but certainly before the October term begins.

Breyer turns 83 next month, and is now the court’s senior justice. He was the second associate justice appointed by Bill Clinton, in 1994, though he was not the first choice.

Clinton’s first appointee, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, nominated the previous year, made the mistake of assuming she could go on and on, despite…

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