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Chief Justice John Roberts honors Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court Justice, in the final oral argument before he retires

Washington --Chief Justice John Roberts paid Wednesday a touching tribute to Justice Stephen Breyer, who was retiring at the conclusion of the last oral argument session in Breyer's 28 year tenure on the high-court.

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Chief Justice John Roberts honors Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court Justice, in the final oral argument before he retires

Roberts, his voice breaking from emotion, noted that Breyer would be retiring from the Supreme Court at end of current term. This will most likely occur by June. The arguments heard Wednesday by the justices were the last Breyer-led argument.

Roberts stated that for 28 years this was his place to make profound and moving remarks, ask challenging questions and be insightful and even laugh at silly hypotheses.

Breyer mentioned that in its April sitting, the final of the term, Breyer talked of "radioactive mushrooms" and "John the Tiger Man", the latter being raised during arguments Tuesday. Breyer also asked hypothetical questions to lawyers who appeared before him over the years. These included deranged tomato children, a "rabbit duck", and garage door sensors that were eaten by raccoons.

Justice Clarence Thomas could hear Roberts laughing, recalling the hypotheticals that were a hallmark of Breyer’s years on the high courts.

Roberts said, "Now, at a suitable time, we will, in accordance with tradition, practice, read, and enter into the records an exchange of letters among the court and Justice Breyer to mark his retirement," Roberts added. "For now, let us leave the courtroom in deep appreciation for the privilege to share this bench with him."

In late January , Breyer declared that he would be retiring after his term at the Supreme Court. President Biden had his first opportunity to name a Supreme Court justice when Breyer resigned. He chose Judge Ketanji Jackson in February.

Jackson was confirmed earlier this month by the Senate in an bipartisan 53-47 vote. This cements her place as the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court. Jackson was also a clerk for Breyer on Congress's federal bench for nine year.

Jackson's appointment and Breyer's retirement will not change the court's ideological makeup, but Jackson, at 51, is well-placed to continue serving for many decades.

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