June 26, 1987 I have been advised today that, after 16 years on the Supreme Court bench, Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., has announced his retirement. Throughout his career, Justice Powell has won a reputation for intellectual balance and fair-mindedness. He is known for his courtliness and courtesy and is truly a Justice's Justice.
These past 16 years have been among the most momentous in the Court's history. Justice Powell's personal role in the Court's decisions on a wide range of issues has led one commentator to say that he ``has had as powerful an influence as anyone alive'' in interpreting the law of the land. I speak for all Americans in saying that his has been a wise and generous influence and one that will be greatly missed.
The President's responsibility under article II, section 2 of the Constitution to nominate Justices of the Supreme Court is one of the most significant duties of my office. I believe that the Court should enter the next term at full strength, and so I will soon be submitting to the Senate my nomination for Justice Powell's successor.