Is Justice Stevens Retiring?

The AP reports Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, age 89, has only hired one law clerk for the next term, prompting speculation he is retiring.

Usually by now, justices have hired four clerks. Retired justices are alloted one clerk.

In response to a question from The Associated Press, Stevens confirmed through a court spokeswoman Tuesday that he has hired only one clerk for the term that begins in October 2010. He is among several justices who typically have hired all four clerks for the following year by now. Information about this advance hiring is not released by the court but is regularly published by some legal blogs.

Stevens did not say whether he plans to hire his full allotment of clerks or whether he will leave the court at the conclusion of the term that begins next month. Retired justices are allowed to hire one clerk.

While some say the hiring of law clerks is not a sure-measure gauge of future plans, others say in this instance, it could be significant.

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    Timing (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:17:29 PM EST
    I would think retirement would be well thought out and planned. Why would he wait until a month before session? Only explanation I can think of is that he didn't want to influence Sotomeyer confirmation process.

    2010 term--not this term (none / 0) (#2)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:28:09 PM EST
    So, the thinking goes, he will retire at the end of the term that begins in 2010.

    Uh, will retire before the 2010 term (none / 0) (#3)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:29:19 PM EST
    Still doesn't make sense to me (none / 0) (#4)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:32:00 PM EST
    If he isn't going to retire until after the current term (i.e., before the 2010 term) why would he hire only one clerk for the current term? Wouldn't he hire four for this term and one for the next?

    ok, I've re-read it (none / 0) (#5)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:33:13 PM EST
    he's hired one for the start of the 2010 term.  Didn't know they hired that far in advance.

    A confirmation hearing next summer? (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:43:10 PM EST
    Before the mid-terms?  To replace the most liberal justice?

    Well, that should be an enlightening hearing.  Should make the Sotomayor confirmation look like spring training.

    OTOH, if this is a base election. . . (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:44:38 PM EST
    I've been holding my breath for several (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by hairspray on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:46:27 PM EST
    years now afraid that Stevens or Ginsburg would be forced to retire due to health reasons. I hope that Obama gets to replace all of the older more infirm liberals in the next few years.  We can't afford to lose one of them into another term should it become a Republican again.  This current court under Roberts is a real disgrace. And it could be worse.

    I wonder if they feared he was going to be (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 04:28:47 PM EST
    a one termer if they'd hurry their leave taking along.  Justice O'Connor didn't want to be replaced by a liberal President and wanted to time her leave taking in that manner.

    See how that worked out! I hope (none / 0) (#18)
    by hairspray on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 04:39:19 PM EST
    she regrets that move.  The current court majority under Roberts is a disgrace.

    WTF? (none / 0) (#8)
    by kaleidescope on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:56:15 PM EST
    What does a retired Supreme Court justice need a clerk for?  Do any of them ever sit by assignment?

    Actually, yes (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:17:48 PM EST
    Justice O'Connor has participated in a number of Court of Appeals panels since her retirement and has even authored a few opinions.

    You don't see it as much because the modern trend has been for Justices to remain on the bench until they can basically no longer function.  But retired Supreme Court Justice are all eligible to sit by assignment, and in fact if they want their pensions to keep pace with regular pay raises I think they're required to do so.


    will you still post comments here? Anonymously, of course...

    I was thinking the same thing (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 04:26:49 PM EST
    Can the next confirmation B.S. battle be about Steve M sitting on the court please :)?

    You know how it is (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:28:41 PM EST
    White males like myself have no chance any more.  Excuse me while I go commiserate over a beer with Pat Buchanan.

    Of course (none / 0) (#12)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 04:25:27 PM EST
    but for now I must go polish my resume...

    Time to retire before 2010 elections (none / 0) (#15)
    by diogenes on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:57:30 PM EST
    The Democrats might lose their filibuster-proof senate in 2010, so I'd bet that Stevens will retire after the Kennedy special election.

    Doesn't matter (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:28:57 PM EST
    We all know the Republicans don't believe in filibustering judges anyway.