Former Supreme Court justice opines on retirement

Ex-justice John Paul Stevens retired in 2010.
Ex-justice John Paul Stevens retired in 2010.

WASHINGTON — Retired justice John Paul Stevens said Sunday that he thinks it is appropriate for Supreme Court justices to factor in political considerations when weighing a decision to retire.

‘‘I think certainly it’s natural and an appropriate thing to think about your successor,’’ the retired justice said in an interview aired on ABC’s ‘‘This Week.’’

Stevens was nominated by President Gerald Ford, a Republican. He joined the court in 1975 and retired in 2010, at 90.


Stevens was asked about speculation that 81-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is resisting calls from some liberals to retire while Barack Obama is president and Democrats control the Senate, which votes on nominees.

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Stevens said his decision to step down was made out of concern about his own health, rather than any political reason.

The Supreme Court’s often politically charged history will come into sharp focus next month.

May 17 will mark the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the case of Brown v. the Board of Education, which outlawed segregation in public schools.

Associated Press