Supreme Court Justice Retirement Rumors -- in 1896:
Recently I came across this New York Times article from January 21, 1896, and I thought readers might find it interesting:
Field retired about two years later, incidentally. If you follow the succession of his seat, it went to Justice McKenna, then Stone, Robert Jackson, Harlan II, Rehnquist as an Associate Justice, and then presently to Justice Scalia.
JUSTICE FIELD NOT TO RETIRE
He Will Remain on the Bench So Long As He Works Easily.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 21. — Associate Justice Stephen J. Field of the United States Supreme Court, in regard to whose retirement rumors have been published for many years, authorizes a denial of the latest statement to that effect, which was published this morning. The venerable jurist says:
"Of course, a man at my time of life might retire from the bench at any time. If my health should not permit me to attend to my duties easily, I should not hesitate to leave the bench, but so long as I can attend to these duties with ease, I have no intent of retiring."
Born in 1816, and appointed to the Supreme Court by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, Justice Field has long since passed the limit entitling him to retire on full pay whenever he so desires. Only Chief Justice Marshall and Justice Story have exceeded him in length of service, and they only by a few months.