Alan Rozzi and Terri L. Peretti (Santa Clara University - College of Arts and Sciences and Santa Clara University) have posted Modern Departures from the Supreme Court: Party, Pensions, or Power on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
If the Supreme Court often serves the interests of the dominant governing coalition, does such regime assistance extend to partisan departures? Do the Justices time their exit from the bench to enable party allies to appoint loyal and like-minded successors? The answer to this question is not as clear and settled as conventional wisdom and anecdotal evidence indicate, with empirical studies sharply divided over the existence of strategic retirement. We offer new evidence regarding the influence of personal and political factors on the probabilities of Supreme Court retirements over the last fifty years. We find limited support for the view that, in deciding whether to stay or go, Justices respond to exogenous political factors like partisan control of the White House. Instead, an important consideration is their role and influence on the Court, suggesting that, at least when it comes to retirement decisions, Supreme Court justices care more about power than party and policy. Helping their party by strategically retiring comes at too high a price: losing their institutional position and influence.