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Reaction to Justice John Paul Stevens' retirement

By The Associated Press
April 9, 2010

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Quotes on the retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens:

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"He has worn the judicial robe with honor and humility. He has applied the Constitution and the laws of the land with fidelity and restraint. He will soon turn 90 this month, but he leaves his position at the top of his game." --President Barack Obama.

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"Justice Stevens' unique and enduring perspective is irreplaceable; his stalwart adherence to the rule of law is unparalleled. The federal judiciary, and indeed the entire nation, will miss his principled jurisprudence." --Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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"It is important for us to recognize the long and historic role that Justice Stevens has played on the Supreme Court, and to thank him for his lifelong service to his country. He is a tireless worker and a historic figure in America's legal system, and we wish him only the best during his retirement from the court." --Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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"Ever since I have known John Stevens I have recognized that he is a model of intelligence, judicial wisdom, decency, and common sense. All of us on the court will miss his service here. So will the nation." --Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

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"He has authored a significant number of our landmark opinions, but that alone would be a misleading indicator of his impact. In many, many cases where he did not write he brought to conference brilliant and distinctive insights that affected the outcome. I shall miss his brilliance, and his companionship." --Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

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"Justice Stevens has been a strong presence on the court for almost 35 years and worked to build consensus and protect the rule of law. I honor his service to America and wish him well in his retirement." --Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

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"Even if Justice Stevens' liberalism has led to many decisions I oppose, I respect his devotion to the institution and the gentlemanly manner in which he always carried out his work." --Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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"While Justice Stevens' retirement is not unexpected, the loss of such a great leader at a time of great change for America and the court is worrisome. Justice Stevens' greatness is marked not only by the length of his service, but the enduring quality of his jurisprudence. His leadership will affect America for much longer than the 35 years he served on the court." --Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and a Senate Judiciary Committee member.

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"Justice Stevens' commitment to expanding freedom, safeguarding our rights and liberties and understanding the challenges faced by ordinary Americans will be his legal legacy. He has had no judicial agenda other than fidelity to the law and the Constitution." --Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., a Senate Judiciary Committee member.

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"Stevens is among the strongest supporters of the right to choose currently serving on the Supreme Court, and his retirement serves as yet another stark reminder of the important role the court plays in our everyday lives." --Nancy Keenan, president of abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America.

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"Justice Stevens has had a profound impact on the judiciary and the law. He is a remarkably dedicated public servant and a profoundly decent human being." --Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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"In recent years, the court has given extraordinary preference to powerful interests at the expense of ordinary Americans. Justice Stevens was a bulwark against that trend." --Michael Keegan, president of the liberal interest group People for the American Way.

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"Justice Stevens devoted his career to our nation's judicial system, participating in some of the most important cases in our history. While he and I may have different judicial philosophies, I thank Justice Stevens for his service." --Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a Senate Judiciary Committee member.