Former Justice Stephen Breyer plans return to the bench as visiting judge on appeals court

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Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is aiming to get back on the bench, this time as a visiting judge on a federal appeals court.

Breyer, who retired from the high court in 2022, said on a podcast this week that he's looking at a potential start date in the fall with the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

"I'm a judge. If you take senior status, you remain a judge, and not only you remain a judge in terms of status, but probably next fall I will go over and sit with the First Circuit," he said on the Thursday release of "Politics War Room" with journalist Al Hunt and Democratic strategist James Carville. "So I'm still an active judge."

In an email Friday, an official with the appeals court confirmed Breyer's plans.

"Justice Breyer has expressed interest in sitting with the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the Court is thrilled to have him," Circuit Executive Susan Goldberg said. "Precise dates have not been set yet."

The court encompasses the districts of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico.

Breyer, 85, would not be the first former justice to hear cases after leaving the Supreme Court.

David Souter, who retired from the high court in 2009, has served as a visiting judge on the First Circuit, while the late Sandra Day O'Connor, who retired in 2006, was a visiting judge with the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Breyer, a liberal justice, served more than 27 years on the high court. He was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

After retiring, President Joe Biden nominated Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to succeed him. Breyer recently authored a new book titled, "Reading the Constitution: Why I Chose Pragmatism, Not Textualism."

In a March interview on NBC News' "Meet the Press," Breyer talked about one of the biggest rulings by the Supreme Court, which came at the end of his tenure as a justice. He called the leak of the court's draft decision in the Dobbs abortion case "unfortunate," while adding that that he would be "amazed" if the source of the leak was one of the justices.

Breyer also said in the interview that it was possible Dobbs could be overturned. He was one of the three justices who dissented in the Dobbs case, which led to Roe v. Wade being overturned.

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