WASHINGTON (CN) – President Obama praised Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who turned 90 on Tuesday, for his “long and esteemed tenure in public service.” Stevens is the longest-serving justice and will be retiring this summer after nearly 35 years on the bench.
In a letter honoring Stevens on his birthday, Obama wrote: “For the last 35 years of your remarkable 90, the Nation has benefitted from the rigor, courage, and integrity that have marked your service on the Supreme Court of the United States. With the thoughtfulness and humility of your questions from the bench, and the independence and wisdom you have brought to the judgments the Court has rendered, you have stood guardian of the Constitution and the rule of law and helped move this Nation towards that more perfect Union. …
“Our system of justice, and our Nation, are stronger and fairer because of your sterling contributions.”
Obama thanked Stevens for his “distinguished service” and wished him and his wife, Maryan, “much happiness.”
Stevens’ retirement gives Obama the opportunity to nominate a liberal justice to retain the court’s ideological balance.
Obama is seriously considering about 10 potential nominees to replace Stevens, including federal appeals court Judges Sidney Thomas, Diane Wood and Merrick Garland; former Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears; Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm; and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.