The Supreme Court wrapped up its nine-month term yesterday, on time, with praise for the administration’s retiring solicitor general and no retirement announcements of its own.
The court traditionally ends its term before July 1, and the justices managed to do that despite dealing with major issues late in the year, including President Bush’s war on terrorism.
In past years, justices who planned to retire announced the intentions at the close of a term. A retirement had been considered unlikely this year, however. All but one of the justices is past 60. The oldest, Justice John Paul Stevens, is 84. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist turns 80 this fall.
Chief Justice Rehnquist praised Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, who is leaving the job as the Bush administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer next month to return to private practice.
Mr. Olson’s wife, Barbara, died in the September 11 attacks, and he became a prominent defender of the government’s anti-terrorism policies.
“The court recognizes the significant responsibilities that were placed on him to represent the government of the United States before this court and to perform other important functions during difficult times,” Chief Justice Rehnquist said yesterday.