Justice Stephen Breyer told CNN he hasn’t decided when he will retire from the Supreme Court, a stance certain to disappoint liberals who have been calling for the 82-year-old to step down and let President Joe Biden fill the vacancy.

In an interview with CNN’s Joan Biskupic in Plainfield, New Hampshire, the court’s oldest justice said his health would be the primary consideration in his eventual decision, with “the court” being a second factor. He answered with a simple “no” when asked whether he had decided when to retire.

Breyer, now the longest-serving liberal justice, said he is enjoying his new seniority, which gives him more power to assign opinions. He played an influential role in the just-completed term, helping to craft the type of consensus rulings he favors. He wrote the court’s opinions preserving the Affordable Care Act and rejecting a public high school’s punishment of a student for a profane social media post.

Calls for Breyer to retire may only increase next year, as the 2020 midterm election approaches. Should Republicans retake control of the Senate, Democrats would lose the ability to confirm a Supreme Court nominee without some GOP support. The chamber is currently split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.


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