04
Apr
10

John Paul Stevens Wants What’s ‘Best for the Court’

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — Around here, one of the most powerful men in the nation is known as plain old John Stevens — courteous bridge player, early-morning regular at the country club’s tennis courts, a quiet but active condo neighbor who checks his weight in the gym before heading off for his daily swim.

But those who cross paths with him in his second home of South Florida have the same question as the president of the United States, the leadership of Congress, the abortion rights combatants, the disgruntled conservative legal activists and the grateful civil libertarians, all of whom know him as Justice John Paul Stevens.

“Do you think he’s going to retire?” asks his friend Raymond A. Doumar, an 83-year-old lawyer who met Stevens years ago while waiting for a tennis match.

Stevens, who turns 90 later this month, isn’t quite ready to say. “I can tell you that I love the job, and deciding whether to leave it is a very difficult decision,” he said in an interview. “But I want to make it in a way that’s best for the court.”

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