Updated at 2:31 p.m.
President Barack Obama today outlined a quick timeline for choosing a successor to Justice John Paul Stevens, backing up expectations that the White House is well-prepared for this Supreme Court vacancy.
Obama, in a speech in the White House Rose Garden, said he'll spend "the coming weeks" trying to find someone with "similar qualities" to Stevens'. He said he hopes the Senate moves quickly to confirm the nominee, citing the vote that confirmed Justice Sonia Sotomayor in early August 2009.
The president alluded to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which struck down limits on corporate and union expenditures in elections. Stevens wrote a long dissent from the majority opinion, and Obama has harshly criticized the majority.
"While we cannot replace Justice Stevens’ experience or wisdom, I will seek someone in the coming weeks with similar qualities — an independent mind, a record of excellence and integrity, a fierce dedication to the rule of law, and a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people," Obama said. "It will also be someone who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."
Obama called Stevens an “impartial guardian of the law” and, as many others have today, noted his service in World War II. “His leadership will be sorely missed, and I just had an opportunity to speak with him and told him, on behalf of a grateful nation, that I thanked him for his service,” Obama said.