Another Supreme Court Opening?

Sonia Sotomayor may not be the most junior Supreme Court justice for long: Justice John Paul Stevens has hired fewer law clerks than usual, leading some to speculate that the court’s leading liberal will retire next year. The Associated Press reports that Stevens has hired only one clerk for the term that begins in October 2010, and that he is usually among the justices who has hired all four clerks for the following year by now. It was Justice David Souter’s failure to hire clerks that first tipped court watchers to his retirement earlier this year. Stevens, 89, joined the court in 1975 and is the second-oldest justice in the court’s history.