While Stevens' resignation does not come as a complete surprise, the timing of his announcement is earlier than expected. In a letter to President Obama, Stevens noted, "It would be in the best interests of the court to have my successor appointed and confirmed well in advance of the commencement of the court's next term."
The New York Times reported on the trajectory of Stevens' career on the Court, stating that, beginning in 1994, "the language of his dissents started to become noticeably sharper, with a theme running through them: that the Supreme Court had lost touch with fundamental notions of fair play." Stevens will be remembered for his leadership in a time in which the Court has moved further and further away from equity.
Thank you, Justice Stevens -- you leave some impressive shoes to fill.
(Photo by NCinDC.)