Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) issued the following statement regarding the retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer:

“We wish to recognize Justice Stephen Breyer for his nearly 30 years of distinguished service on the United States Supreme Court. Throughout his tenure, Justice Breyer combined a fierce and passionate dedication to intellectual rigor with an equally profound commitment to fairmindedly operating in good faith. His legacy is a proud one, and his voice will be sorely missed.

“As attention quickly turns to who the Biden Administration will nominate as the nation’s next Supreme Court Justice, it is essential to note the combination of principles, characteristics, inclinations, and experiences that LDF considers essential for the nominee to possess.

“An ironclad commitment to upholding the rule of law is absolutely crucial. As our ongoing political crisis has made all too clear, the judiciary’s commitment to our Constitutional order is only as reliable as that of the people who serve as its judges. It’s essential, then, that whoever is nominated to replace Justice Breyer holds a tenacious and unwavering belief that the rule of law and the Constitution should never be sacrificed for the sake of politics. This extends, especially, to all matters of civil rights, including voting rights, educational equity, police accountability, and the elimination of discrimination across all aspects of our society.

“In addition to upholding a society where all people, regardless of their background or wealth or political power, are judged by the same laws, we also need a Supreme Court that is reflective of the incredible diversity of the United States — not only in terms of identity, but also in economic background and professional experience.

“From LDF’s very beginning under our founder Thurgood Marshall, who went on to be the first Black Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history, we have worked to make real a justice system that is reflective of the American people. It is in that spirit that we have previously commended the Biden administration for its diverse judicial nominees and urge President Biden again now to nominate someone who understands how the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution affects the lives of every American.”


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.