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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Pundits call on Justice Sotomayor to retire, Senate Democrats not on board

Apr 5

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Liberal political pundits are calling for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to retire so President Biden can nominate a replacement while there’s a Democrat-controlled Senate. However, lawmakers are not joining the calls for Sotomayor to make room for the next generation. 

It’s a story that’s been told before: a liberal Supreme Court justice has surpassed retirement age and there’s concern the White House and Senate could flip from Democratic to Republican control after the upcoming election. Then, progressives make a push to have the justice retire so she can be replaced by someone younger with the same ideology. 

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That same situation happened with Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2013. However, there are key differences this time around. 

The biggest difference is age. Justice Ginsburg was 80 in 2013 and Justice Sotomayor is 69.

In addition, the pressure on Ginsburg was far greater. Even President Obama had her over to the White House for lunch, during which he reminded her that Democrats could lose control of the Senate in 2014. It wasn’t an overt call to retire, but a reminder that it would be difficult to replace her. 

Now, it appears only pundits are publicly calling for Sotomayor’s retirement; elected officials are not going that far. Both The Atlantic and The Guardian have published op-eds calling for Sotomayor’s retirement. 

NBC News reported that Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., described Sotomayor as “a highly accomplished and, obviously, fully functioning justice right now.” Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee added, “justices have to make their personal decisions.”

NBC also reported that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., another Judiciary Committee Democrat, said he hasn’t given much thought to Sotomayor’s future and is “not joining any calls” for her to leave the court.

However, Blumenthal also hinted that the possibility of losing that seat to a conservative due to unplanned events is on people’s minds. 

“We should learn a lesson,” Blumenthal said. “And it’s not like there’s any mystery here about what the lesson should be. The old saying — graveyards are full of indispensable people, ourselves in this body included.”

If Sotomayor does retire, it would likely not happen until July after this court term ends. Democrats would then try to confirm a replacement before the court’s next term begins in October.

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[RAY BOGAN]

A liberal Supreme Court justice has surpassed retirement age. 

There’s concern the White House and Senate could flip from Democratic to Republican control after the upcoming election. 

Progressives push to have the justice retire so she can be replaced by someone younger to ensure that seat maintains its ideology. Heard that before? 

It happened in 2013 with Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Now, it’s a similar story for Justice Sonia Sotomayor. 

But there are a few key differences this time around. 

In 2013, Justice Ginsburg was 80, Sotomayor is 69. 

In addition, the pressure on Ginsburg was far greater. Even President Obama had her over for lunch, during which he reminded her that Democrats could lose control of the Senate in 2014. 

It wasn’t an overt call to retire, but a reminder that it would be difficult to replace her. 

Now, it appears only pundits are publicly calling for Sotomayor’s retirement. Elected officials are not going that far. 

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee, told NBC News that Sotomayor is “a highly accomplished and, obviously, fully functioning justice right now.” He added: “justices have to make their personal decisions…” 

NBC also reported that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, another Judiciary Committee Democrat, said he hasn’t given much thought to Sotomayor’s future and is “not joining any calls” for her to leave the court.

But Blumenthal also hinted that the possibility of losing that seat to a conservative due to unplanned events is on people’s minds. 

[BLUMENTHAL]

“We should learn a lesson. And it’s not like there’s any mystery here about what the lesson should be. The old saying — graveyards are full of indispensable people, ourselves in this body included.”

[RAY BOGAN]

If Sotomayor does retire, it would likely not happen until July after this court term ends. 

Then Democrats would try to confirm a replacement before the court’s next term begins in October. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.