From Lawrence Hurley’s Washington Briefs:
Finally, it’s official. Justice John Paul Stevens sent a letter to the White House today announcing his intent to retire after the current term. “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,” Stevens wrote.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement that Stevens “has earned the gratitude and admiration of the American people for his nearly 40 years of distinguished service to the judiciary.”
UPDATE: Here’s an excerpt from the Court’s statement, courtesy Tony Mauro at the Blog of the Legal Times:
Associate Justice John Paul Stevens has today sent the attached letter to the White House, notifying President Barack Obama of his retirement from the Supreme Court, effective one day after the Court rises for the summer recess this year. Justice Stevens has served on the Supreme Court for 34 years. He is 89 years old.
This statement seems to say that Stevens is not sticking around until his successor is seated. As I wrote earlier this week, the GOP should be very mindful of the political consequences of stalling the confirmation process into the fall, thereby forcing the Court to return for its next term short of full capacity.
UPDATE II: Mauro has just posted Stevens’s retirement letter:
My dear Mr. President:
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, under the provisions of 28 D.S.C. § 371(b), effective the next day after the Court rises for the summer recess this year. Most respectfully yours,
John Paul Stevens
“My dear Mr. President” is a very nice touch. And here it is perfectly apparent: Stevens isn’t conditioning his retirement upon his successor’s confirmation.
I’m heading out of town until tomorrow afternoon, so no more updates here. But Tony Mauro is a machine over at the BLT, so keep checking back there for all the latest JPS Retirement news.