[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/20/art.stevens2.gi.jpg caption ="Justice Stevens received a birthday note Tuesday from President Obama."](CNN) – President Obama penned a birthday letter to retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on Tuesday.
Born in 1920, Tuesday marked Stevens' 90th birthday, an occasion President Obama celebrated by congratulating Stevens on his "long and esteemed tenure in public service."
"For the last 35 years of your remarkable 90, the Nation has benefited from the rigor, courage, and integrity," Obama wrote in the letter, released by the Supreme Court press office.
Obama, who is reportedly reaching out this week to possible candidates to succeed Stevens, wished the high court judge much happiness moving forward.
"Our system of justice, and our Nation, are stronger and fairer because of your sterling contributions. On behalf of the country, I thank you for your distinguished service and wish you and your wife Maryan much happiness."
Stevens was nominated by President Ford and took his seat on the court December 19, 1975.
–CNN's Bill Mears contributed to this report.