FedSoc Blog

Former Justice Stevens Discusses Highs and Lows of Time on Court, Praises Roberts


by Publius
Posted December 28, 2012, 9:36 AM

The Naple News (of Florida) reports:

John Paul Stevens still worries about the effects of Bush v. Gore. He remains unnerved by capital punishment. And to this day, he still looks back on decades-old cases, some wistfully, some with regret. . . .

Under questioning from federal appeals Judge Marjorie Rendell, Stevens recounted some of the highs and lows from his time on the bench, which lasted 34½ years.

Speaking about the historic Bush v. Gore decision, which struck down the Florida Supreme Court's plan for recounting votes in the 2000 presidential election, Stevens voiced his concern about the lingering effects of the 5-4 ruling. Stevens, considered one of the leading liberal voices on the court, wrote a dissenting opinion, and still worries about the politicization of the case.

"I do think the majority opinion did make many members of the public more cynical about the judicial process," said Stevens, who lives in the South Florida area. "I do think some of that cynicism is very significant."

Touching on gun laws in the wake of this month's shooting in Newtown, Conn., Stevens lamented two firearm-related rulings with which he disagreed — decisions striking down both Chicago's ban on handguns in the home and a requirement that local law enforcement agencies get involved in background checks for gun purchasers.

"That case could be responsible for some very serious tragedies," Stevens said of the latter ruling. . . .

He spoke eloquently about current Chief Justice John Roberts ("really an ideal choice" for the job), railed against political gerrymandering ("totally unjustified" in many cases) and lamented the death penalty.


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