President Obama made a statement this afternoon, suggesting that he would nominate a replacement for retiring Justice John Paul Stevens within "weeks." In describing his ideal nominee, the President suggested that he would be looking for someone who agreed with Stevens’ spirited dissent in Citizens United v. FEC:
I will seek someone in the coming weeks with similar qualities — an independent mind, a record of excellence and integrity, a fierce dedication to the rule of law, and a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people. It will also be someone who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.
Senator Patrick Leahy, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said today that he expected to have hearings on the President’s Supreme Court nominee this summer. Meanwhile, Newsweek is reporting that Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is on the short list for the vacancy, along with Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Judge Diane Wood and Judge Merrick Garland.
Reaction to Stevens’ announcement continues in Washington. Vice President Joseph Biden issued a statement. Tony Mauro at The Legal Times has the statements of the other Justices, plus retired Justices O’Connor and Souter. The Ninth Justice, the National Journal’s new blog on the Supreme Court vacancy, has reactions from many more Senators.