Rumorhas it that Justice John Paul Stevens, the senior member of the Supreme Court's liberal wing, may call it quits when the current court term ends in June. Sources say he's fed up with being in a powerless liberal minority -- and recently expressed that frustration in some pretty colorful language for a Supreme Court justice: "I can't put up with this shit anymore!"

john paul stevens 2.jpgJustice Stevens: Mad as hell, and not going to take this anymore!

Because retirement rumors about Justice Stevens return each spring with the birds and the flowers, we look upon them with suspicion. And there are reasons to view the rumors skeptically once again. First, at a recent clerk dinner, Justice Stevens said he had no plans to retire. Second, Justice Stevens has hired law clerks for the next term, which suggests that he plans to remain on the Court at least through June 2007 (or at least wants people to think that he will).

This time around, however, the JPS resignation rumor is supported by more detailed and credible information. First, there's the specificity of the overheard language: "I can't put up with this shit anymore!" Second, recent events -- namely, the replacement of Justice O'Connor by Justice Alito -- make Justice Stevens's frustrated outburst more understandable.

Third, Justice Stevens may also have personal reasons for stepping down. Although he's in fine health himself, despite turning 86 this coming April, rumor has it that his wife Maryann Simon could be in better health. Justice Stevens may wish to spend more time with her, just as Justice O'Connor left the Court to spend more time with her ailing husband, John Jay O'Connor.

An obvious caveat: this is all just idle gossip and speculation (like pretty much everything else you read here). Perhaps the overheard comment was merely a complaint by Justice Stevens about the food at the Supreme Court cafeteria -- especially that funny-tasting creme brulee. Perhaps Justice Stevens intends to serve on the Court until the day he dies, like the late Chief Justice Rehnquist.

So what are Justice Stevens's plans -- and are you actually in a position to know? If so, please email us.

Will Justice Stevens Retire at the End of This Term? [Confirm Them]

Next Court Pick: Mother of All Battles [NewsMax]

Poison Justice Stevens, Coulter Jokes [CNN]


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