President Barack Obama said Friday that he will announce his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens “in the coming weeks,” with the intention of having the slot filled by this fall.
The president praised Stevens, who announced his retirement Friday morning, for his 34 years on the high court. During remarks in the Rose Garden, Obama described the 89-year-old liberal leader on the bench as “brilliant, non-ideological, pragmatic and committed above all to justice, integrity and the rule of law.”
With Stevens preparing to step down as soon as the court recesses for the summer, Obama said he “will move quickly” to name his replacement in order to have Stevens’ successor appointed and confirmed before the court’s fall term begins in September.
Several names have already been floated as possible contenders for Stevens’ seat. Topping the list are Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appellate judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland.
Obama said he will pick a nominee with qualities similar to Stevens: someone with “an independent mind, a record of excellence and integrity, a fierce dedication to the rule of the law, and a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people.”
In addition, the president said his pick will understand that “powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.”