Friday, April 9, 2010

Justice Stevens Announces His Retirement

As the New York Times reports:

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, leader of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, announced on Friday that he would retire at the end of this term, setting up a confirmation battle over his replacement that is virtually certain to dominate the political scene this summer.

In a brief letter to President Obama, whom he addressed as “my dear Mr. President,” Justice Stevens said he was announcing his retirement now because he had “concluded that it would be in the best interests of the Court to have my successor appointed and confirmed well in advance of the commencement of the Court’s next term” in October.

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The White House has been quietly evaluating potential nominees for months. Among those rumored to be in contention for the nomination are Solicitor General Elena Kagan and several appeals court judges, including Diane Wood and Merrick Garland.

Justice Stevens recently gave interesting interviews to Adam Liptak of the Times and Robert Barnes of the Washington Post. An excellent profile of Stevens by Jeffrey Toobin appears in a recent issue of the New Yorker. For a story on the White House search for a nominee to replace Justice Stevens, see here.

Update: Huffington Post has an interactive feature that describes some of the leading potential nominees and allows you to rate them.

Update 2: Here is video of a statement that Obama made on Justice Stevens's retirement.

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