A US legal blog writes:
We all realize what a catastrophe it was for RBG to choose to try to hang on until 2021. This isn’t 20/20 hindsight: many people said back in 2014, when the Democrats still controlled both the presidency and the Senate, that she was making a huge and selfish mistake, and indeed she was.
There’s remarkably little attention being given at the moment to Stephen Breyer’s failure to resign immediately upon Joe Biden’s inauguration, which is arguably an even bigger and more selfish mistake.
It’s simply delusional to think that the Democrats are certain to control the Senate for the next 22 months. If you look at American history, it’s not at all unusual for the party makeup of the Senate to shift over the course of a Congress. At the present moment, when Democrats have a numerical advantage of zero senators, and the average age of the caucus is approximately 107, the possibility of a disastrous sudden shift in the makeup of the body is greatly magnified.
The average age isn’t quite 107 but it is a good point that the one seat majority in the Senate may not last two years.
DTGstl314 points out in comments that there are seven Democratic senators over the age of 70 representing states where Republicans would pick a successor in the case of a pre-election vacancy!
Breyer is 82 years old.
In the Senate there are five Senators in their 80s and 22 in their 70s.
But of course no one can make Breyer retire. So the ball is in his court.