(CN) – Justice John Paul Stevens announced that he “will surely” retire from the Supreme Court while President Obama is still in office. Stevens, who turns 90 this month, is the court’s oldest justice.
He told reporters over the weekend that he will soon decide when he’ll retire, giving Obama the chance to preserve the court’s ideological composition. The court is evenly divided, with moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy often casting the swing vote.
“I will surely do it while he’s still president,” Stevens told The Washington Post.
The bow-tie-sporting justice is the second-oldest in Supreme Court history, after Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, and has served more than 34 years on the high court.
Though he has long been a leader of the court’s liberals, Stevens was nominated in 1975 by Republican President Gerald R. Ford.