Obama Praises John Paul Stevens, Readies For Next Supreme Court Fight

06/09/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has saluted retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens as an "impartial guardian" of the law, and says he'll move quickly to nominate a successor.

Obama paid tribute to the 89-year-old Stevens shortly after the president returned from Prague where he signed a new nuclear arms limitation treaty with Russia.

Obama said Stevens was a "brilliant" jurist and he hailed his appointment by former President Gerald Ford in the months after the Watergate scandal. The president said Stevens had "worn the judicial robe with honor and humility." Stevens' decision to step down from the high court bench gives Obama his second Supreme Court appointment.