Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is expected to announce his retirement this week, a move that will give President Joe Biden the opportunity to nominate his replacement. While the nomination will not change the current conservative majority of the Supreme Court, President Biden’s spokesperson confirmed he plans to uphold a campaign promise to nominate the first Black woman to the nation’s highest court.
A YouGov poll of 2,223 U.S. adults finds that one in three Americans says that now is around the right time for Breyer to retire, while 12% say he should’ve retired earlier and another 12% say his retirement should have come later. Almost half of Democrats believe that Breyer timed his retirement well, with 16% wishing it would have come sooner and 8% wishing it were postponed.
The nation is split on whether President Biden can be trusted to name a suitable replacement to the Supreme Court, with 38% expressing trust and 36% saying they don’t trust him. More than three-quarters of Democrats (78%) trust he will make a good decision, with most Democrats (55%) placing “a lot” of trust in him to complete the task well. By 44% to 32%, Independents tend to distrust that President Biden will make a good choice, and 68% of Republicans say that they distrust his ability to pick a suitable replacement “a lot.”
When it comes to Biden’s promise to nominate a Black woman for the vacancy, it’s something his party, in particular, wants. Nearly three-quarters of Democrats (72%) say it is “very important” or “somewhat important” to them that he keeps his word. Just 32% of Independents and 13% of Republicans say it is important to them that Biden nominate a Black woman to fill Breyer’s seat. One-third (33%) of Black Americans say it is very important to them, compared to 17% of Hispanic Americans and 14% of white Americans.
Explore these survey results below:
- Is Breyer’s retirement too soon, too late, or around the right time?
- How much do you trust Biden to nominate a suitable replacement?
- How important is it to you that Breyer’s successor is a Black woman?
Methodology: This Daily Agenda survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,223 U.S. adults interviewed online on January 26, 2022. The samples were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population, based on gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.