News that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer would retire sent shockwaves through the political world on Wednesday — earlier, evidently, than Breyer had hoped.
Multiple outlets reported Wednesday that Breyer planned to announce his retirement, major news that signaled President Biden would be able to put forward his first nominee to the Supreme Court. But hours after the news was widely reported, Breyer had still not confirmed it. Fox News legal correspondent Shannon Bream reports that Breyer's announcement "wasn't planned for today" and he was surprised and unhappy the news was revealed early.
"Justice Breyer was not planning to announce his retirement today," Bream reported on Fox News, adding, "I'm told that he is 'upset,' that the way that this is being handled was not the timeline that he had planned."
Bream went on to say that Breyer reportedly "felt this was pushed before he was ready to make it official." She later followed up on Twitter to clarify that Breyer did decide "on his own to retire" and that it would be "better to characterize him as surprised by events today than 'upset'" after someone "jumped the gun" on the announcement.
Breyer is planning to stay on at the Supreme Court until the end of its term, NBC News reported, and CNN reports the formal announcement is now expected on Thursday. Asked for comment on the news, Biden declined to weigh in until it was official. "Every justice has the right and opportunity to decide what he or she is going to do and announce it on their own," Biden said. "There has been no announcement from Justice Breyer. Let him make whatever statement he's going to make, and I'll be happy to talk about it later."