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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Friday, November 21, 2008

From Justice Stevens, No Exit Signs

For all the speculation about how President-elect Barack Obama's nominees may change the Supreme Court, there is one irrefutable fact: He can't make an appointment until there is a vacancy.

Eighty-eight-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens, the court's longest-serving member, is considered most likely to provide that opening. But in a question-and-answer session Monday at an event sponsored by the University of Florida's Fredric G. Levin College of Law, Stevens gave no indication that he is ready to retire to his part-time home in Fort Lauderdale.

Reminded that the court now takes and issues full opinions in half as many cases as when Stevens was appointed to the court in 1975, the justice said he does not consider the workload a burden.

"From my own personal point of view, it's definitely a positive," Stevens said to laughter. "And I have to say I think we were taking too many cases when I joined the court."

He added: "It's still a full-time job; I wouldn't want to say otherwise. But if we had the same kind of workload today that we had then, I would have resigned 10 years ago." [Mark Godsey]

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