As Breyer Pondered Retirement, Biden Bet on a Hands-Off Strategy

Other presidents and their advisers have been more forceful about creating an opening on the court. In 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to put his friend Abe Fortas on the court, he persuaded Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, a Kennedy-era appointee, to leave the bench to take up an ambassadorship to the United Nations. Two years later, when Mr. Johnson wanted to appoint Thurgood Marshall as the first Black Supreme Court justice, he pushed Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark to step aside by appointing his son, Ramsey Clark, as attorney general, creating a potential conflict of interest.

The Breyer retirement lacks any similar drama.

When his departure was officially announced at the White House on Thursday, Justice Breyer offered a rare window into his thinking: As Mr. Biden stood behind him, he invoked the Gettysburg Address and spoke of the diverse and “complicated” country he had served. Respect for the Constitution and rule of law, he said, had made a complicated country an exceptional one.

Justice Breyer said that it would be up to future generations to shape the direction the country took from here. Those generations, he said, would “determine whether the experiment still works and, of course, I’m an optimist and I am pretty sure it will.”

It was really not so different from what Mr. Biden has said throughout his presidency. Earlier this month, he called for Americans “to stand for the rule of law, to preserve the flame of democracy, to keep the promise of America alive.”

And though Justice Breyer’s remarks were not political, many in Congress believed he had maneuvered to step down when Democrats were still in a position to replace him before the midterms.

Justice Breyer’s appearance at the White House on Thursday alongside the president was unusual. When Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired, President George W. Bush delivered remarks alone in the Rose Garden after a phone call from her. Justice David H. Souter similarly placed a phone call to Mr. Obama, who announced the news in the White House briefing room. Justice Kennedy hand delivered his retirement letter to Mr. Trump but did not appear next to him that day.

White House Says It Does Not Keep Visitor Logs at Biden’s Delaware Home

WASHINGTON — White House officials said on Monday that there are no visitor logs that keep track of who comes and goes from President Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington, Del., where six classified documents were discovered in recent days. A top House Republican demanded on Sunday that the White House turn over visitor logs for […]

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A Florida School Received a Threat. Did a Red Flag Law Prevent a Shooting?

The requests were granted. But the results of the search were not what the detective expected. Memories of Parkland Nationally, more than 20,000 petitions for extreme risk protection orders were filed from 1999 to 2021, according to data collected by Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group. A vast majority of those petitions — more […]

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A Colossal Off-Year Election in Wisconsin

Lauren Justice for The New York Times Conservatives have controlled the court since 2008. Though the court upheld Wisconsin’s 2020 election results, last year it ruled drop boxes illegal, allowed a purge of the voter rolls to take place and installed redistricting maps drawn by Republican legislators despite the objections of Gov. Tony Evers, a […]

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