By Ronn Blitzer
Far-left Democrats are becoming increasingly hostile toward members of their own party who do not advance their agenda.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement announcement comes after members of Congress and left-wing groups campaigned for him to step down, while moderates in the Senate continue to face pressure from within their party.
The aging Breyer had said in the past that he did not plan on remaining on the high court for the rest of his life but had no specific retirement plan. He will leave the bench at the end of the court’s term this year, months before the midterm elections. This would ensure that President Biden can nominate a younger replacement while Democrats are in control of the Senate and can confirm them.
Breyer’s timetable is in line with the goals of those who had been vocal about wanting to make sure Biden gets to pick Breyer’s successor. The White House has insisted it was entirely Breyer’s decision to resign.
“There’s no question that Justice Breyer, for whom I have great respect, should retire at the end of this term,” Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., said last spring, just months after Biden took office. “My goodness, have we not learned our lesson?”
That lesson was from the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was replaced by then-President Trump’s nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Democrats were upset that Ginsburg, who was 87 when she died after battling cancer, did not retire when Barack Obama was still president. That would have allowed Democrats to choose her replacement.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Jones “has a point” when asked last year about Breyer retiring. Asked specifically if she thought Breyer should step aside, Ocasio-Cortez said she was “inclined to say yes.”
Last June, 13 progressive activist organizations joined the chorus, taking out an ad calling for Breyer to give up his job.
“Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer should immediately announce his intent to retire from the bench,” said the ad, paid for by groups including Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March.
“If Breyer were replaced by an additional ultra-conservative justice, an even further-right Supreme Court would leave our democracy and the rights of marginalized communities at even greater risk,” the ad continued. “For the good of the country, now is the time to step aside.”
The lobbying for Breyer to retire was tame compared to what a former senior Obama aide said earlier this month.
Alyssa Mastromonaco railed against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., on the “Pod Save America” podcast after the senator spoke on the Senate floor and refused to side with other Democrats to eliminate the filibuster for a voting rights bill.
Sinema boards an elevator as she departs after a meeting with White House officials and Manchin at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Oct. 27, 2021. (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)
“She gave the speech as Joe Biden was on [his] way up to the Hill. So anyway, it’s the s—tiest, grossest, most disrespectful thing she could’ve done,” Mastromonaco said. “I think she’s a c—. That’s what I have to say.”
Mastromonaco did not stop there, adding that Sinema is not a maverick like late Arizona Sen. John McCain, but “trash.”
Mastromonaco was far from the only critic to go after Sinema and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
When Manchin was resisting Biden’s social spending bill that, at the time, had a price tag of $3.5 trillion, protesters blockaded his houseboat. Sinema was accosted in a bathroom and recorded by leftists pressuring her to vote their way. Another confronted her during an airplane flight, and others did the same at an airport, asking her about her opposition to the spending bill.
President Biden condemned the intimidation methods when asked about them in October but also seemed to downplay their significance.
“I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody,” Biden said. “The only people it doesn’t happen to are people who have Secret Service standing around them. So, it’s part of the process.”