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Thursday, February 02, 2006 

Let the Speculation and Rumors Begin

Justice Stevens rumored to retire in the near future. That didn't take long.

I'm not sold on this as being anything beyond speculation yet. Quoting "Washington insiders" and a "buzz" doesn't exactly arouse feelings of confidence in me. And this is NewsMax, and NewsMax is... well, NewsMax. They're well meaning folks, but they definitely have a dog in this fight, so to speak.

This is pretty interesting though...
...and rumor has it that he hopes to have his replacement named by a Republican president.

"The buzz in Washington is that Stevens was appointed by a Republican president and he considers himself one that plans to retire under a Republican president," Gary Marx, executive director of the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network, told NewsMax.
This is a weird, but not unprecedented, phenomenon. Many Justices feel something of an obligation of loyalty to the party that nominated them. Justice O'Connor's husband had been quoted at some cocktail party as saying that she wanted to have a Republican president name her replacement. Probably a more apt case is that of Justice White. He was nominated to the Court by Democrat John F Kennedy. He was a fairly conservative vote in many cases, including being one of two dissenters on Roe and writing the majority opinion in Bowers v Hardwick. Regardless, he made a point of waiting to retire until a Democrat was president. White did this knowing that Clinton would replace him with someone far more liberal.

I think a lot of the older Justices especially don't care that much about the views of their replacement. They know the history of the Court and the ever-changing nature of the Court. As long as his replacement is qualified, I don't think Justice Stevens is going to care who it is. The guy is getting really old too. Whenever he isn't needed at the Court, he's down in Florida. You can't get more stereotypical retiree behavior than that.

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