Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced Friday that he will retire from the court this summer. His departure would give Mr. Obama his second nomination to the court, enabling him to ensure there would continue to be at least four liberal-leaning justices. The high court is often split 5 to 4 on major cases, with the vote of moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy often deciding which side prevails. “I will surely do it while he’s still president,” Justice Stevens told The Washington Post.
But the justice, who was named to the court by Republican President Gerald R. Ford in 1975, says he still loves the job, and says he continues to write the first draft of his own opinions. Justice Stevens is the second-oldest justice in the court’s history, after Oliver Wendell Holmes. He is the seventh-longest-serving justice, with more than 34 years on the court.