WASHINGTON April 10, 2010 — On Friday Justice John Paul Stevens announced that he would retire at the end of this term. This would give President Obama the exceptional opportunity to confirm uninterrupted appointments to the Supreme Court during the first two years of his presidency.
Stevens has mentioned that he believes his successor can be confirmed "well in advance of the commencement of the court's next term."
Republicans promised difficulty for any activist nominee. Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), the former Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Sunday a Supreme Court vacancy this year could well result in a GOP filibuster given the partisan stalemate at this time in Washington.
“I think the gridlock in the Senate might well produce a filibuster, which would tie up the Senate [for] the Supreme Court nominee,” Specter said on "Fox News Sunday." “I think a year passes, there’s a much better chance we could come to a consensus.”
President Obama commented on Justice Stevens retirement: "We cannot replace Justice Stevens' experience or wisdom," Obama said at the White House after returning from Prague where he had signed a nuclear treaty. "I'll seek someone in the coming weeks with similar qualities: an independent mind, a record of excellence and integrity, a fierce dedication to the rule of law and a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people. It will also be someone who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in democracy powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."
According to White House officials there are about 10 people are under consideration, Leading candidates are said to be federal appellate Judges Merrick Garland, 57, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 49, and Diane Wood, 59, in Chicago.
Justice John Paul Stevens' resignation signify that he and his wife, Maryan, will spend a greater portion of his time at their oceanfront condominium in Fort Lauderdale.
From November through April Justice Stevens has been spending about two weeks of each month in Fort Lauderdale, He has told interviewers he does a lot of him work at home.
Stevens is an enthusiastic golfer and tennis player, enjoys competitive bridge and is known for taking daily dip in the ocean.
Many of his neighbors never knew who he was. He is known as a quite person.
''I'm basically anonymous down there, which is the way I like it,'' Stevens told The New York Times in a 2007 interview.