So, the day has come that Democrats have been praying for and Republicans have been dreading.
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer -- one of the U.S. Supreme Court's liberal wing -- announced his retirement.
Breyer is 83 years old and has been on the court for more than a quarter of a century. He will step down in June when the court's current term ends.
President Joe Biden had previously said he would appoint the first African American female to the nation's highest court should a vacancy open. We'll see if he follows through..
In the meantime, the timing of Breyer's retirement is convenient for the Biden administration. The Democrats control the U.S. Senate, which must confirm President Biden's nominee for Breyer's replacement. That means whomever he chooses will almost certainly end up on the court. The midterm elections in November could hand control to the Republicans, which would make things a lot harder if Breyer had waited another term.
In the end, nothing much will change. The liberals will have three seats on the court, the conservatives (for the most part) six.
The only real concern Republicans have for the foreseeable future is that conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, at age 73, and Samuel Alito, at 71, remain healthy and committed to holding their seats,