Justice Stevens considering retirement this year




Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times printed an article titled “Obama losing chance to reshape judiciary,” which began:

An early chance for the Obama administration to reshape the nation’s judiciary — and counter gains made in the federal courts by conservatives — appears close to slipping away, due to a combination of White House inattention and Republican opposition.

Here’s something that will get the White House’s attention. There’s the possibility that the President will get the chance to make another Supreme Court appointment this year. Justice Paul Stevens may retire:

Justice John Paul Stevens, at 89 the Supreme Court’s oldest member, says he will decide in the next month or so whether this term will be his last.

Stevens tells The New Yorker magazine that he definitely will retire in the next three years. His comments suggest that President Barack Obama, whom Stevens says he admires, will likely nominate his successor.

The leader of the court’s liberals, Stevens is the second oldest justice in U.S. history and fourth longest-serving. He says that breaking those records doesn’t interest him.

The New Yorker article mentioned is Jeffrey Toobin’s excellent profile on Stevens:

With the election of Barack Obama, the question of Stevens’s retirement has become more pressing. Even though Stevens was appointed by a Republican President, many assume that he would never willingly have turned his seat over to George W. Bush. I asked Stevens about his plans.

“Well, I still have my options open,” he said. “When I decided to just hire one clerk, three of my four clerks last year said they’d work for me next year if I wanted them to. So I have my options still. And then I’ll have to decide soon.” On March 8th, he told me that he would make up his mind in about a month.

Hopefully, Obama will appoint another liberal judge to replace Stevens (when Stevens retires.) But, the balance of the Court won’t shift until Kennedy, Scalia or Thomas retires.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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