Justice Stevens May Be Getting Ready to Retire
Liberal judge slows hiring of law clerks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 2, 2009 9:38 AM CDT
Associate Justice John Paul Stevens has hired fewer law clerks than usual for 2009, generating speculation in the legal community that the leader of the court's liberals will retire in the next year.    (J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE)
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(Newser) – Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has hired only one law clerk for the upcoming legal season, generating speculation that the leader of the court's liberals will retire next year and give President Obama the chance to fill a second seat on the court. Justice David Souter, who was replaced by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, announced his retirement in May, and Souter’s failure to hire clerks was the first signal that he was contemplating leaving the court.

Stevens, 89, is among several justices who typically have hired all four clerks for the following year by now, but he has hired only one for the term that begins in October 2010. This may indicate plans for retirement, but analysts say Stevens would probably stay on if Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s pancreatic cancer takes a turn for the worse.