Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Announces Retirement

Justice Stevens, who was appointed by a Republican president under the assumption that he would vote along conservative lines turned out to be a force of reason and moderation in a Court that has shifted to the right. During his 34-year tenure in the Supreme Court, he exemplified excellence, integrity and dedication to the spirit and the word of the Law. Above all, he recognized the true concept of a democracy in his drive to elevate public interests above special interests.

The question now on all of our minds is how will Justice Stevens' departure shape the future of the Supreme Court. According to a report released by the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society at SUNY Albany, women make up only 22% of federal judgeships and 26% of all state-level positions.

This is what some of NCRW's Member Centers had to say:

"[On April 4, 2010 Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced his decision to retire from the high court. His letter to President Obama read], "Having concluded that it would be in the best interests of the Court to have my successor appointed and confirmed well in advance of the commencement of the Court's next term, I shall retire from active service," reported the LA Times.

Stevens' retirement will lead to President Obama's second appointment to the high court. His first Supreme Court appointee, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, was sworn in on August 8, 2009.

Potential nominees who were reportedly on the shortlist for the vacancy last year included Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, US Appeals Court judge Diane Pamela Wood, and California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno. According to NPR, current leading candidates to fill Stevens' seat include Kagan, Wood, and federal appellate judge Merrick Garland.

According to his official biography, Stevens was nominated to the high court by Republican President Gerald Ford and was sworn in to the seat on December 19, 1975. With Stevens' retirement, there will be six Catholics and two Jewish Supreme Court Justices."

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, on Resignation of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

In the landmark Supreme Court case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Justice Stevens expressed his view of equality, writing, 'Roe is an integral part of a correct understanding of both the concept of liberty and the basic equality of men and women.' Stevens quoted Justice Thurgood Marshall: "Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds." And concluded, 'The same holds true for the power to control women's bodies.'

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Statement Of Marcia D. Greenberger On Retirement Of Justice John Paul Stevens

Justice Stevens' tenure on the Court spanned landmark decisions affecting many critical legal rights for women - including protections against sex discrimination and sexual harassment at work and at school, the constitutional right to privacy, the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under law, and important health and safety regulations. Justice Stevens played a crucial role in protecting and enforcing women's legal rights in these cases.

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Justice John Paul Stevens announced on Friday that he intends to step down from the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the belly-aching began almost immediately...Judging from the racist and sexist attacks that Justice Sonia Sotomayor underwent during her confirmation process, should President Obama dare to once again pick someone for the U.S. Supreme Court who is not White and male, the new nominee will certainly undergo attack. In this so-called post-racial world, we don't see racism unless White men feel that their privilege is being challenged. And then, of course, it falls under the pattern of reverse racism because that is the only kind of marginalization that counts-even if it is only a figment of the imagination.
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