Klain shared Breyer retirement news with ‘limited’ group on Capitol Hill before leak: Durbin

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Klain shared Breyer retirement news with ‘limited’ group on Capitol Hill before leak: Durbin

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said Monday that White House chief of staff Ron Klain

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said Monday that White House chief of staff Ron Klain told a “limited number of people” Justice Stephen Breyer was retiring from the Supreme Court last week shortly before the news broke publicly. 

“So I think it must have been Wednesday morning when I received a surprise call at 9:30 a.m. from Ron Klain, not a usual person to call me. I think the first time he’s ever called me,” Durbin, D-Ill., said. “He said the president wanted me to know that Stephen Breyer was about to announce his retirement from the court and they were telling a limited number of people and that I should keep it confidential.” 

Sen. Dick Durbin introduces Antony Blinken during his confirmation hearing to be secretary of state before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on Jan. 19, 2021. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

Sen. Dick Durbin introduces Antony Blinken during his confirmation hearing to be secretary of state before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on Jan. 19, 2021. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

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But the news did not remain confidential long, Durbin said, and it was public within an hour. That surprised Breyer, sources told Fox News, who was planning to announce his retirement imminently but did not intend for the news to go public as early as it did. 

“That’s where confidential on Capitol Hill leads to, I guess,” Durbin said.

Breyer announced his retirement in an event at the White House with President Biden the next day. He said in a letter to the president that he plans to stay on to the end of the current Supreme Court term, which will end in late June or early July, before stepping down – assuming his replacement has been confirmed by the Senate. 

That gives Biden and the Senate plenty of time to select, vet and vote on a potential nominee. Supreme Court confirmations in recent decades have taken about two or three months, although the most recent one for Justice Amy Coney Barrett took only one. 

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Biden said last week he will select that nominee by the end of this month, and that it will be a Black woman. 

Fox News’ Shannon Bream and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

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