Justice Stevens Is Retiring

Filed in National by on April 9, 2010

This is not unexpected, but it’s now official.

The announcement came in a statement from Chief Justice John Roberts:

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens has earned the gratitude and admiration of the American people for his nearly 40 years of distinguished service to the Judiciary, including more than 34 years on the Supreme Court. He has enriched the lives of everyone at the Court through his intellect, independence, and warm grace. We have all been blessed to have John as our colleague and his wife Maryan as our friend. We will miss John’s presence in our daily work, but will take joy in his and Maryan’s continued friendship in the years ahead.

We will miss John Paul Stevens on the court. He was a great justice and wrote many opinions but one I’ll always remember was the dissention he wrote for Bush v Gore:

Justice Stevens wrote a scathing dissent on the Court’s ruling to stay the recount of votes in Florida during the 2000 presidential election. He believed that the holding displayed “an unstated lack of confidence in the impartiality and capacity of the state judges who would make the critical decisions if the vote count were to proceed.” He continued, “[t]he endorsement of that position by the majority of this Court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land. It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today’s decision. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

The summer and fall should be fun! We’ll have fights over the START treaty and a new confirmation fight.

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  1. Left Wing: Justice Stevens, a Loss for the Left | Beauty and Healthy | April 12, 2010
  1. PBaumbach says:

    Wonderful, a new area for wingnut fundraising will hereby commence

    “Donate your Social Security checks to to prevent Obama from naming Nancy Pelosi to the Supreme Court!”

    Hint for –try to limit outings to strip clubs on the organization’s dime.

  2. Jason330 says:

    I’m less worried about that than I am that Obama will appoint Lou Dobbs to demonstrate what a bi-partsan motherf**cker he is.

  3. V says:

    I’m sure republicans will demand no less than the second coming of Scalia to maintain the court’s balance.

  4. pandora says:

    Republicans will vote “no” against Obama’s choice of replacement. Know who he’s picked? Neither do they.

  5. You can read Justice Stevens resignation letter to Obama at this link. Stevens makes it clear that he is retiring at the end of the term, he’s not staying in place until a replacement is confirmed. That means the summer will be taken up with the confirmation battle.

  6. Earned the gratitude of the people….for killing babies, taking away their land, freeing criminals, and making a joke out of constitutional law. My only suggestion is that the President should clear his pick with me and I will find him a bipartisan choice. Then you all won’t have to wring your hands about Republicans not being happy 🙂

  7. Scott P says:

    The unfortunate fact here is that this pretty much guarantees the court will move more to the right. I think it’s pretty unlikely that someone even as liberal, let alone more so, than Stevens would even be nominated, let alone confirmed. And when Obama nominates a slightly liberal, but mostly moderate (like himself) justice, the media will harp on about how the President is putting a liberal on the court — completely unaware that he will be making the court less liberal, not more.

  8. Obama mostly moderate? Thanks for the laugh. To find someone more liberal than Stevens you would have to pick Hugo, but he is having to much fun as a third world President.

  9. Scott P says:

    Glad I could make you laugh, even if only to return the favor. The fact is Obama is a moderate, despite what FOX News tells you.

    Also, the more I think about it, maybe we should be hoping for a Stevens-like justice. One who starts off moderate (even slightly conservative) and then tacks steadily leftward over time.

  10. V says:

    The important thing is to maintain the balance of liberals and conservatives on the court. That way decisions aren’t about political ideology, but about what the law says and what justice says. It should be a no brainer to appoint a liberal to this post to maintain that balance. After Ginsburg retires (most likely next, also liberal and a no-brainer), the REAL fight is over the spot of whoever drops out after her. That crucial 5th spot that republicans currently have is the one to fight about. Making a big deal over this is stupid, but I’m sure they’ll spend all summer yelling about “legislating from the bench!!” anyway. Even though our current court has been overturning a century of precent in the field of campaign finance.

  11. PBaumbach says:

    Republican David: “killing babies, freeing criminals, rewriting constitutional law, liberal, and Hugo Chavez”

    [GOP talking point] BINGO!

  12. The important thing is to maintain the balance of liberals and conservatives on the court.

    I totally disagree with this statement. If Scalia, Thomas, Roberts or Alito retires we don’t want to put another activist conservative on the court. We’d like to move it back into the mainstream of the U.S.

  13. V says:

    UI – well at least that’s the argument I feel like we need to make to republicans.
    of course if Scalia retired we wouldn’t put a conservative in his place, but history has seemed to show that neither side tends to stay in power long enough to stack the court one way or the other. Right now republicans have the edge, but not an overwhelming majority. That’s why that 5th seat is so important. I’m just hoping dems stayin power long enough to get us that 5th one, because I doubt we’ll get much more opportunity than that.

  14. Jason330 says:

    Great statement by Coons, (and about two weeks sooner than I expected).

  15. Jason330 says:

    The important thing is to maintain the balance of liberals and conservatives on the court.

    Stupid begets stupid.

  16. anon says:

    Coons: “I am concerned about the undue influence the proliferation of corporate funds may have in our electoral process…”

    No kidding.

  17. V says:

    wow. you guys are mean today.

    do i WANT 9 liberals? yes.

    are we every going to GET 9 liberals? no.

    and if we had 9 liberals the conservatives would burn down the damn supreme court buliding, so I like a balance. I would PREFER a balance slightly tipped in our favor, but I dunno if we’ll get there.

    maybe i was inarticulate, but not stupid.

  18. It was not one of your finest moments, but I will quote you on it when a conservative retires during the next Republicn administration.

  19. V says:

    ugh. i hate all of you.

  20. Mark H says:

    Please remember Jason is having a tough week with his bestest buddy McNabb leaving and all 🙂

  21. Sorry V, I just respectfully disagree. I think one of the underappreciated reasons why who is president matters so much (the Nader crowd included) is because of the power to appoint judges.

    Keeping the balance was one of the arguments Democrats were using when O’Connor retired. Bush, of course, appointed Alito, moving the court to the right.

    I think the best way is to appoint highly-qualified people who will do the right thing. Now we’re living in a highly polarized time where the right wing is operating on a different set of facts. Both Souter and Stevens were actually appointed by Republican presidents, crazily enough.

  22. Jason330 says:

    Liberals,being smarter than conservatives, means a 100% liberal court would make better legal dcisions.

  23. Jason330 says:

    It is all moot anyway. As if liberals would ever have a say in anything. It makes me to

  24. Mary E says:

    I’m hoping VP Biden will help vet the replacement. The GOP will claim any nominee to the left of Scalia and Thomas is a left wing socialist, no matter how false, so there is no benefit by nominating a moderate.

    Looking at the ages of the far right Justices it is unlikely any additional vacancies during Obama’s presidency (and 2nd term) will be the conservative Justices. After Steven’s Ginsburgs the oldest (77), then Scalia (74), Kennedy (73) Breyer (71), Thomas (61), Alito (60), Roberts and Sotomoyer are both 55. Justice Ginsburg is not only the oldest after Steven’s she has had cancer, and as I understand it still treating for her second bout with cancer.

    I’m not a Republican, so I don’t have it in me to wish a conservative Justice ill health, but unless Scalia, Kennedy, Roberts, Alito or Thomas dies unexpecedly don’t expect Obama to be able to appoint a liberal in their place.

  25. anon says:

    Liberals best hope is to get a quiet Souter type who goes left later.

  26. jason330 says:

    “The GOP will claim any nominee to the left of Scalia and Thomas is a left wing socialist, no matter how false, so there is no benefit by nominating a moderate.”

    Excellent point.

  27. P.Schwartz says:

    vetting by Biden???

    might as well have Bo do the vetting.

    (That’s Bo, the Obama’s dog, not Junior Joe)

  28. Von Cracker says:

    Hugo, David?

    You know when you talk SCOTUS and bring up Hugo, everyone with a brain thinks Hugo Black.

    Were you referencing him or just trying to be cute, per usual.

    And for you edification, Hugo Black wasn’t much of a liberal.

  29. Von Cracker says:

    Stevens’ position on the court tells you just how bat shit crazy conservatives moved to the right over the past 30 years.

    It’s approaching Generalissimo stage at this point.

  30. A. Nony Moose says:

    Von Cracker, you must be joking! Hugo Black was a serious New Dealer who was practically joined at the hip with William O. Douglas on civil liberties for much of his tenure on the Court. Not only that, but he more or less created modern church-state jurisprudence with its “strict separation” standard.

  31. Jason330 says:

    von C. You got that right. conservative used to mean level headed and thrifty. Now it means deranged psycho, thanks to wingnuts like moose who have lost touch with reality.

  32. Jason330 says:

    You know what I like about Tiger Woods? Fourth place felt like a loss to him.

  33. Von Cracker says:

    looking at the totality of his work, a liberal? I don’t think so. But hey, that the M.O. of a far right-wing nutjob….take the exception and make it the rule! Shit, y’all take the rule and portray it as an exception, for that matter.

    If you noticed, I didn’t call Black a conservative. Most scholars of the Court would define him as undefinable. But whatever…here’s just a bit from his Wiki page:

    Black intensely believed in judicial restraint and reserved the power of making laws to the legislatures, often scolding his more liberal colleagues for what he saw as judicially-created legislation.[51] Conservative justice John M. Harlan II would say of Black: “No Justice has worn his judicial robes with a keener sense of the limitations that go with them.”[51] Black advocated a narrow role of interpretation for justices, opposing a view of justices as social engineers or rewriters of the Constitution.[51] Black opposed enlarging constitutional liberties beyond their literal or historic “plain” meaning, as he saw his more liberal colleagues do.[54] However, he also condemned the actions of those to his right, such as the conservative Four Horsemen of the 1920s and 1930s, who struck down much of the New Deal’s legislation.[41]

    I think your problem, Moose, is you fall into the trap of using today’s standards (and more likely your interpretation of today’s conservative ideology [can anyone tell me what that is anyway? and I mean talk and in practice :-)]) and applying them to persons in the past.

  34. Von Cracker says:

    Saw that, Jason. He’s a competitor on the course as well as in the bedroom. 😈

  35. Jason330 says:

    Tsk tsk… You are trying to make pretend that moos thought about his comment.

  36. Von Cracker says:

    I cannot tolerate ignorance, J. So therefore I must be a hater and a wannabe Marxist/Nazi/Hippie who wants to put stupid people in FEMA camps.

  37. Von Cracker says:

    I guess I shut Moose up. 🙂