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Are Supreme retirement rumors greatly exaggerated?

The election of Democrat Barack Obama has Supreme Court watchers all but planning retirement parties for Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens (who is 88), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (a 75-year-old cancer survivor), and David Souter (69, but often rumored to be miserable and longing to return to his New Hampshire home).

But wait just one minute, says ABC News Supreme Court correspondent and author Jan Crawford Greenburg. On her blog, Greenburg writes that none of the three justices show any sign of wanting to step down.

“[J]ustices can surprise,” Greenburg writes. “Liberals don’t always retire during Democratic administrations. Sometimes, they step down in Republican ones, and vice versa for their conservative colleagues.” Prime example: Justice Thurgood Marshall rode out the entire Carter administration, and retired when President George H.W. Bush was in the White House.

stevenssmileAs DC Dicta has noted, Stevens remains as sharp and spry as ever, never hesitating to make his voice heard during oral arguments or with his pen in lengthy statements and dissents.

ginsburgsmallAnd Ginsburg is no frail flower. As Greenburg and Legal Times’ Tony Mauro have noted, Ginsburg has told friends that she hopes to stay on the bench until she’s at least Stevens’ age.

souter3Souter isn’t showing any signs of fatigue, either. He was particularly vocal during yesterday’s oral arguments in Melendez-Diaz v. Mass. and Chambers v. U.S. He’s is said to enjoy his job – if not Washington’s atmosphere – and he’s younger than conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and noted swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy.

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