Obama Lauds Retiring Justice Stevens And Pledges To Name Nominee Within ‘Weeks’

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April 9, 2010 10:06 a.m.

President Obama this afternoon commended retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens for being an “impartial guardian of the law” and said he will move “quickly” to name a nominee to fill his position on the high court.

Speaking to reporters in the White House Rose Garden, Obama said selecting Supreme Ccourt nominees are “among my most serious responsibilities as president.” He said he will seek a nominee “in the coming weeks” with “similar qualities” to Stevens.

Obama said he spoke with Stevens this afternoon to thank him for his service, adding that at 89, the justice “leaves his position at the top of his game.” The president told reporters that when President Ford nominated Stevens he sought someone who was not ideological, pragmatic and “committed above all to justice, integrity and the rule of law,” and said he agrees that’s the right approach.Obama said his choice will have “fierce dedication to the rule of law and a keen understanding of how the law affects the lives of ordinary people.” He said the person would understand that “powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out” everyday citizens.

He asked the Senate also move quickly and confirm the new justice to make sure she or he is seated in time for the fall term.

As we noted earlier, Democrats would prefer he move at the same speedy pace as he did last year — with just 26 days in between Justice David Souter’s retirement and Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination.

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