Over the history of the Supreme Court, only a very few justices opposed the death penalty in all circumstances: Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer. Today, the last remaining member of that group, Justice Breyer, retired, leaving the Court without a single categorical opponent of the death penalty for the first time in decades. I believe we now have the most pro-DP Court of my lifetime.
Justice Breyer was pretty much a down-the-line liberal on criminal justice issues, but is a modest and friendly man with a wicked sense of humor, and never had the driven and angry edge to him that many abolitionists do. It remains to be seen whether his replacement, Justice Brown Jackson, will match his intellect and fair-minded outlook. We can hope, and we wish her the best as she begins her tenure on the Court.