Or so says Paul Campos in an opinion piece for the NY Times today (possibly paywalled).
And I have to say, he makes a pretty compelling argument, at least from a political perspective.
Consider that because of the extremely thin nature of their Democratic Senate control, the shift of a single seat from the Democrats to the Republicans or even one vacancy in the 50 seats now controlled by the Democratic caucus would probably result in the swift reinstallation of Mitch McConnell as the majority leader.
What are the odds that something like this — a senator’s death, disabling health crisis or departure from office for other reasons — will happen sometime in this Congress’s remaining 22 months?
Alarmingly for Democrats, if history is any guide, the odds are quite high. Since the end of World War II, 27 of the 38 Congresses have featured a change in the party composition of the Senate during a session.
At the moment, no fewer than six Democratic senators over the age of 70 represent states where a Republican governor would be free to replace them with a Republican, should a vacancy occur.
Five other Democratic senators represent states for which a vacancy would go unfilled for months, until a special election to fill the seat was held — which would hand the G.O.P. control of the Senate at least until that election and likely for the rest of the current Congress if a Republican wins that contest.
Of course, Breyer owes nothing to Democrats or liberals in general. He may want to stay on for personal reasons and no one can force him to resign. But if he has any concerns about the current conservative tilt of the court, then he might want to to think about it.