WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court (search) wrapped up its nine-month term on Tuesday — on time — with praise for the administration's retiring solicitor general (search) and no retirement announcements of its own.
The court traditionally ends its term before July 1, and the justices managed to do that despite dealing with major issues late in the year, including President Bush's war on terror.
In past years, justices who planned to retire announced their intentions at the close of a term. A retirement had been considered unlikely this year, however. All but one of the justices is past 60. The oldest, Justice John Paul Stevens (search), is 84. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (search) turns 80 this fall.
Rehnquist praised Solicitor General Theodore Olson (search), who is leaving the job as the Bush administration's top Supreme Court lawyer next month to return to law practice.
Olson's wife, Barbara, died in the Sept. 11 attacks, and he became a prominent defender of the government's anti-terrorism policies.
"The court recognizes the significant responsibilities that were placed on him to represent the government of the United States before this court and to perform other important functions during difficult times," Rehnquist said Tuesday.