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Justice Stevens Retiring, Obama To Fill Another SCOTUS Slot

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Apr 9, 2010 4:00PM

After weeks of rumors and conjecture, Supreme Court Justice (and Chicago native) John Paul Stevens announced he will retire this summer, in late June or early July. Stevens is the oldest member of the SCOTUS - he turns 90 in less than two weeks - and leads the liberal group of SCOTUS justices, so his departure and subsequent replacement will not likely change the current conservative-liberal balance of the SCOTUS. Stevens' timing will mean the Obama administration will be able to name a replacement and hold confirmation hearings before the November mid-term elections. It'll be the second SCOTUS appointment for President Obama after appointing Sonia Sotomayor last year to replace David Souter.

According to the Associated Press, the leading candidates to replace Stevens are Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 49, and federal appellate Judges Merrick Garland, 57, and Diane Wood, 59. Wood, of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, located here in Chicago, was also considered a favorite to fill the Souter vacany. And while Garland is currently a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, he was born right here in Chicago.