The usually reticent with the press Justice John Paul Stevens gave two major interviews this weekend that provide new information about if and when he will retire from the bench.
Speculation has arisen that Stevens, 89, will step down sooner rather than later. The White House is preparing for confirmation proceedings over the summer, the New York Times wrote Saturday.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Stevens, who is considered a member of the liberal wing of the Court, Stevens said he will "surely retire in during Obama's presidency. His first term expires in January 2013:
Whether it is this year or the next, he said, he will hand President Obama his second chance to leave a lasting mark on the nine-member Supreme Court. "I will surely do it while he's still president," Stevens said.
Stevens, who turns 90 later this month, isn't quite ready to say. "I can tell you that I love the job and deciding whether to leave it is a very difficult decision," he said in an interview. "But I want to make it in a way that's best for the court."
He acknowledged that he had told a reporter early last month that he would decide in about 30 days, but laughed that he hoped "that wasn't being treated as a statute of limitations."
The Times reported that he said:
“I do have to fish or cut bait, just for my own personal peace of mind and also in fairness to the process,” he said. “The president and the Senate need plenty of time to fill a vacancy.”