For the first time since President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, Gov. Phil Murphy has no opinion on the Supreme Court of the United States.
He declined to say whether Associate Justice Stephen Breyer should retire before Republicans have a chance to recapture control of the U.S. Senate in 2022.
“No opinion on the Supreme Court,” he said. “Justice Breyer has and continues to have had a terrific career on the Supreme Court and wish him nothing but the very best.”
Progressive groups have called on Breyer, 82, to retire before then, worrying that a GOP-controlled Senate would refuse to advance any Supreme Court nominees picked by President Joe Biden.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he would not advance a Supreme Court nominee, a second reversal of his stance on the Thurmond Rule, a non-existent rule that bars the confirmation of Supreme Court justices close to a presidential election.
McConnell invoked the rule to block Garland’s nomination in 2016 before leading the GOP-controlled Senate to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett just eight days before President Donald Trump’s re-election loss.
Barrett filled the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
McConnell also did not rule out blocking judicial nominations made in 2023.