Stevens Bids Farewell to Supreme Court After More Than 34 Years on Bench

John Paul Stevens, the second longest-serving-justice in Supreme Court history, bid farewell to his colleagues today with customary modesty, after more than 34 years on the bench.

“If I have overstayed my welcome, it is because this is such a unique and wonderful job,” Stevens, 90, told the other justices and court staff in his parting remarks.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan, nominated by President Barack Obama to replace Stevens on the court, began her confirmation hearings today before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

When Stevens took a seat among the justices this morning he was greeted by those in attendance, including male and female staff and even some reporters, who marked his departure by wearing bow ties, the justice’s signature fashion accessory.

Chief Justice John Roberts read a letter for Stevens, whose retirement is effective tomorrow, praising what he called his “unaffected decency and resolute commitment to justice.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Laya in Washington at

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