Justice Stephen Breyer will step down from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term, according to multiple reports.
Breyer is one of the three remaining liberal justices, and his decision to retire after more than 27 years on the court allows President Joe Biden to appoint a successor who could serve for several decades in the high court.
This move would maintain the current 6-3 split between conservative and liberal justices.
At 83, Breyer is the court’s oldest member.
Liberal activists have urged him for months to retire while Democrats hold both the White House and the Senate.
Speaking with CNN last July, the 83-year-old Breyer answered “no” when asked if he knew when he would retire.
He gave two reasons that would contribute to an eventual decision: “Primarily, of course, health,” Breyer said. “Second, the court.”
Liberals have urged Breyer to step down at the end of the court’s current term so that President Joe Biden can name a younger, liberal justice to the bench while Democrats hold a Senate majority. But Breyer told CNN that he was happy as the court’s highest-ranking liberal, saying that it had “made a difference” to him.
President Biden is expected to formally announce the retirement at the White House on Thursday, according to the AP.