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Former MSNBC host calls on Justice Sotomayor to step down from Supreme Court: 'Why take the risk?'

Former MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan called on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to retire on Monday so that President Biden could nominate another liberal justice to replace her, as former President Trump maintains leads in swing states ahead of the 2024 election.

CNN host Jake Tapper asked the panelists during his show on Tuesday if they agreed with Hasan’s argument. “With Joe Biden trailing Trump in several swing states and Democrats also in danger of losing their razor-thin majority in the Senate, are we really prepared for history to repeat itself? Sotomayor will turn 70 in June,” Hasan wrote in a column for The Guardian.

“I have PTSD from 2020, I think the Democrats didn‘t learn lessons. Look, what are we talking about, abortion rights. How did that happen? Dobbs, how did the Florida decision happen today? DeSantis appointed five of the seven judges. Republicans are very good at stacking courts and getting their people on courts and thinking strategically about filling courts. Democrats aren’t very good at seeing the power of the Supreme Court,” Hasan told the other CNN panelists.

“And that’s why I worry. I worry that, why would you want to repeat history? Why take the risk? You have a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate, and you have a justice who is about to turn 70,” he said.


CNN’s Eva Mckend said she had really only heard calls from Hasan and Democrats widely have not been pushing Sotomayor to step down. She said she wasn’t “so sure” about Sotomayor and argued it was a personal choice. 

NBC News reported Wednesday that top Democrats would not be joining in on calls for the justice to retire. 

Asked about it during a press briefing on Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said it would be a “personal choice” for Sotomayor. 

Hasan pushed back on the idea that it’s a personal choice during his CNN appearance and said it shouldn’t be.

Justice Sotomayor


“It shouldn‘t be a personal choice. The U.S. Supreme Court is one of the only supreme courts in a democratic world that has lifetime tenure. It’s mad, England doesn‘t have it. Belgium doesn‘t have it. Spain doesn‘t have it. Australia New Zealand, you either have term limits or you have a 70 retirement age. What are people doing in their 80s on the Supreme Court? Or running for president, some might ask,” he said. 

“Biden, elected Democrats, and liberals and progressives across the board should be both publicly and privately encouraging Sotomayor to consider what she wants her legacy to be, to remember what happened with RBG, and to not take any kind of gamble with the future of our democracy,” Hasan argued in his column.

Journalist and podcast host Josh Barro said in January that he was “surprised” Sotomayor hasn’t “retired,” as someone who is concerned about the balance of the court. Barro also wrote an op-ed calling on her to step down.

supreme court exterior

“It seems like that – it would be the right time strategically for her to step down in favor of somebody younger if she’s very concerned about the political balance on the court,” he said in January.

Sotomayor spoke at the University of California Berkley Law school in January and said she lived in “frustration” among a conservative-leaning Supreme Court, Fox News Digital previously reported.

“I live in frustration. And as you heard, every loss truly traumatizes me in my stomach and in my heart. But I have to get up the next morning and keep on fighting,” Sotomayor said.

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