Judge John Paul Stevens Steps Down, Debate Begins On Next Supreme Court Justice
Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens announced last week that he would retire from the Supreme Court at the end of the court’s current term. This is important news for both the Supreme Court and for President Obama considering that now the search begins for the President to find Stevens’ replacement. The longest serving and oldest member of the court (Stevens is 90 years old) will step down this summer as he stated in a letter to the President last week.
Named to the court in 1975 by then President Gerald Ford, Stevens has been the foundation of the court when it comes to follow the ideas of the constitution and liberal ideology for decades. Stevens hopes that his views on abortion rights, protection for homosexuals, and defending the rights of average citizens over big interests stands as his legacy – outlasting his retirement. Yet, as big as the news that Stevens is retiring happens to be, the bigger story may be the President’s search for the new justice.
President Obama stated that Stevens’ successor would be in place for the senate to vote on by the beginning of the new term for the court in October. He also went on to say that the nominee would be an “independent mind” who would have a record of excellence in dedication to law and how the law affects the American people. Some names that have been swirling around on the short list for potential nominees have been Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Judge Ann Claire Williams, and even current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.