U.S. Supreme Court

Stevens Hires Only One Law Clerk, Spurring Retirement Speculation

Justice John Paul Stevens has so far hired only one law clerk for 2010, leading to speculation that he will announce his retirement at the end of the coming term.

Stevens confirmed through a court spokeswoman that he has hired only one law clerk, the Associated Press reports. Usually justices hire four law clerks by this time; retired justices are allowed one law clerk.

At 89, Stevens is the second-oldest justice in the court’s history. He would need to serve until Feb. 24, 2011, to surpass Oliver Wendell Holmes as the oldest justice in history. Stevens has served nearly 34 years on the court and is the seventh longest-serving justice.

Justice David H. Souter’s failure to hire law clerks by mid-April was taken as a sign that he would be leaving. He announced his retirement in May.

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