John Paul Stevens Says Ruth Bader Ginsburg Sought His Advice On Retirement

WASHINGTON -- Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said Sunday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sought his advice on when she should retire, although he declined to weigh in on the matter publicly.

"I'd say she doesn't need my advice, she really doesn't," Stevens said in an interview on ABC's "This Week." "She did ask my advice," he added, summarizing his response as, "'Ruth, you're fully capable of handling everything that comes along.'"

Exactly when Ginsburg, 81, will retire from the Court has been a matter of much speculation. Some Democrats have called on her to step down so that President Barack Obama can appoint her successor, thus precluding the possibility of a Republican choosing her replacement.

But Ginsburg, the oldest justice on the Court, has vowed to resist the pressure to leave her post. Justices should ignore politics and work until they are no longer equipped to do the job, she said last year.

Stevens disagreed on Sunday, telling host George Stephanopoulos he felt it was appropriate to take your successor into consideration when weighing retirement.

"It's an appropriate thing to think about your successor, not only in this job," Stevens said. "I'm just finishing the book by former Secretary [of Defense Robert] Gates. He thought a lot about his successor, too. If you're interested in the job and in the kind of work that's done, you have to have an interest in who's going to fill your shoes."

Stevens nonetheless maintained that political pressure was not behind his own retirement in 2010.

"My decision was not made for any political reason whatsoever," he said. "It was my concern about my own health."



Supreme Court Justices