Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said Friday he will retire this year, giving President Obama another opportunity to shape the nation's highest court.Listen, Steven's has had a long and distinguished career on SCOTUS, but he's a staunch liberal retiring during the term of a radically-Leftist President. In other words, his leaving won't make one iota of a difference to SCOTUS' current ideological balance so conservatives shouldn't be too concerned.
Stevens, who turns 90 on April 20 and has served nearly 35 years on the court, announced his resignation in a brief letter delivered to the White House at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
"My dear Mr. President," Stevens wrote. "Having 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, I shall retire from regular active service as an associate justice ... effective the next day after the court rises for the summer recess this year."
He signed it, "Most respectfully yours."
Stevens was not on the bench for a brief public session Monday; the court will hold its next public session in two weeks.
Speculation over Stevens had increased after he confirmed last fall he hired one law clerk for the next court term, which begins in October. Sitting justices can hire four law clerks, while retired members get only one.The White House has quietly but actively prepared for weeks in anticipation of a vacancy, government sources said.