The speculation can finally be put to rest as Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced Friday that he will retire from the high court in late June or early July.
Stevens informed President Barack Obama of his decision in a one-paragraph letter received by the White House at 10:30 am EDT, according to the Associated Press.
“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. He added it would be “effective the next day after the Court rises for the summer recess this year.”
Chief Justice John Roberts commented on the move in statement, saying that Stevens has “enriched the lives of everyone at the Court through his intellect, independence, and warm grace. We have all been blessed to have John as our colleague and his wife Maryan as our friend.”
Stevens, who will turn 90 later this month, is the court’s oldest member and leader of its liberal bloc. He told the AP he hopes a decision on his successor is confirmed “well in advance of the commencement of the court’s next term.” Among the potential replacements under consideration are Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and federal appellate Judges Merrick Garland, 57, and Diane Wood, 59.
Stevens was appointed to the high court by President Gerald Ford in 1975.