Wow, didn’t see that one coming. It makes sense, since there are likely to be several retirements over the next few years, but with Chief Justice William Rehnquist ailing, I think everyone thought he would be the next to retire.

O’Connor’s confirmation is one of those moments that sticks in my head from when I first started paying real attention to politics. I remember the Iran Hostage Crisis, the invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. holding out of the Moscow Olympics, Carter losing to Reagan, and O’Connor’s appointment as one big lump of events that ushered me into paying more attention to the wider world. It’s kind of sad she’s retiring.