Recently we reported comments by Justice John Paul Stevens, age 87 suggesting he has no intentions of leaving the Supreme Court anytime soon. Now comes another bit of evidence, though not conclusive: Stevens has hired at least one clerk for the term that begins on October 2008 and ends in 2009 -- well into the term of the next President. First reported here and confirmed by Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, Stevens this week hired Lindsey Powell, a 2007 Stanford grad who is spending the coming term as a clerk for Merrick Garland, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals on the D.C. Circuit.
Cautionary note: hiring clerks for future terms is not necessarily incompatible with also planning for retirement. From time to time, law clerks arrive at the Court as the justice who hired them is exiting, but not to worry. They usually land on their feet, either absorbed by other justices or with job offers from the private and public sector.