The Washington Post has a nice profile of Suprme Court Justice Stevens, who has always been admired for his gentlemanly demeanor and work ethic, even as his opinions have taken him to the left side of the court.
The Post piece practically begs Justice Stevens not to retire at the conclusion of the current term, a rumor heard every year about the time that pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
The most persuasive argument for his retirement is that the Court has a tradition of the justices not hanging on until they die on the bench. Some do, but most retire, a tribute to the idea that the law does not depend upon the composition of the nine justices.
This tradtion may have become a casualty of the politicization of the court, and surely no one will blame any conservative justice for staying until his or her last breath if this becomes the tradition of the justices on the left.