[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/04/art.stevens0404.gi.jpg caption="Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says he will soon decide whether to step down after 35 years as the leader of the liberal wing of the nation's highest court."]
(CNN) - Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says he will soon decide whether to step down after 35 years as the leader of the liberal wing of the nation's highest court.
Stevens' comments, published Saturday by The New York Times and The Washington Post, amplified what he told CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on March 8 - that he would make up his mind about retirement in about a month.
"We are just about at a month," Toobin said Saturday night. "I don't think he meant that precisely to the day, but I think we will hear in the month of April that he is retiring."
Steven's retirement has been the cause of growing speculation since last fall, when he hired one law clerk for the upcoming session of the court, Toobin said. Until then, he had hired his customary four.
"Last fall, he hired one law clerk which is all that a retiring justice is entitled to," Toobin said.
Stevens celebrates his 90th birthday on April 20.
His retirement will give President Obama another chance to put his stamp on the court. Last summer, he named Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the court.
In Stevens' place, Obama will likely nominate another Democrat, thus maintaining the court's ideological balance of five conservative to four liberal-leaning judges.
Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania - a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which considers Supreme Court nominees - said Sunday that he would lobby Obama to choose a successor for Stevens who supports limiting executive power built up during George W. Bush's presidency.