Justice Stevens mulls retirement

Chris Rizo Mar. 16, 2010, 12:37pm

John Paul Stevens

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the high court's oldest member, says he is considering retirement.

Stevens, 89, told The New Yorker magazine's Jeffrey Toobin that this Supreme Court term might be his last.

"I will retire within the next three years," Stevens was quoted as saying. "I'm sure of that."

If that is the case, President Barack Obama would nominate his successor - giving the Democrat a second appointment to the court. He appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year.

The court's current term is scheduled to end in June. Retiring justices traditionally announce their plans to leave the bench near the end of a term so their successor can be confirmed by the U.S. Senate by October.

In the interview, Stevens, a reliably liberal vote on the nine-member court, said he had "great admiration" for Obama.

"I have a great admiration for him, and certainly think he's capable of picking successfully, you know, doing a good job of filling vacancies." he said.

Stevens is the second oldest justice in U.S. history and fourth longest-serving. He was nominated to the high court in 1975 by Republican President Gerald Ford.

The New Yorker's story appears in the magazine's March 22 issue.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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