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MARSHALL ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE RETIREMENT

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Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall announced his immediate retirement, replacing his June 27 announcement that he would remain on the bench until a successor was confirmed.

In a two-sentence letter to President Bush Tuesday, Marshall said he officially retired "as of this date."The timing of the announcement alleviated confusion over what would happen Monday if no successor were in place when the Supreme Court's 1991-92 term begins.

Unless confirmed by the Senate this week, Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas would not be on the bench. That had raised the possibility that Marshall could take part in arguments and decisions until a replacement officially joined the court.