John Paul Stevens Retires
It’s official: John Paul Stevens has handed in his resignation.
Stevens said Friday he will step down when the court finishes its work for the summer in late June or early July. He said he hopes his successor is confirmed “well in advance of the commencement of the court’s next term.”
The timing of Stevens’ announcement leaves ample time for the White House to settle on a successor and for Senate Democrats, who control a 59-vote majority, to conduct confirmation hearings and a vote before the court’s next term begins in October. Republicans have not ruled out an attempt to delay confirmation.
Stevens’ announcement had been hinted at for months. It comes 11 days before his 90th birthday.
The only question was whether he’d hang on another year. And, since he only hired one clerk instead of the customary four, the presumption has long been that he wouldn’t.
Speculation on replacements has been ongoing for awhile but we’ll likely get a liberal appointee but one who isn’t a firebreather. That’s just the nature of having a liberal president and a Senate that’s almost impossible to navigate. The end result will be a wash, replacing a moderately liberal Justice (albeit one appointed by a moderately conservative president) with a perhaps slightly more liberal one. The difference, of course, will be that the replacement will be decades younger.