Friday, April 9, 2010

The Daily Strike-4/9/10-Stevens Retires

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. We weren't planning on doing an entry tonight, but news intervened. I'd also like to acknowledge that this is our 500th entry! Hooray!

STEVENS: Today, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens announced that he will retire from the Supreme Court when the current term ends in June. He wanted to announce his retirement early enough so that his successor can be seated by the time the 2010-2011 term begins.

Stevens was nominated by President Gerald Ford in 1975, and at the time was expected to be a relatively conservative Justice. As the court began veering far to the right during the Reagan years, Stevens gradually became the court's most consistently liberal members. Chris Hayes of The Nation wrote today that Stevens is "one of the absolute great heroes of liberalism over the past several decades." I completely agree. Stevens became a staunch advocate for civil rights and the right to privacy. He also was key in bringing aboard other court members to strike down Bush Administration abuses of executive power. Stevens also wrote three of my favorite dissents over the past decade. The first, was his scathing indictment of the majority in the infamous Bush V. Gore case. The next was his brilliant usage of my favorite Anatole France quote in his dissent in the Seattle School District case, which dealt with racial-based consideration in public school admissions. Finally, I must cite his strongly worded dissent in this year's disastrous "Citizens United" case, in which the majority threw away restrictions against corporate buyouts of campaigns. His fair-mindedness, character, and yes, empathy will be sorely missed.

President Obama is now tasked with appointing Stevens' successor. As I mentioned to The Big Picture this morning, this might be a good chance for President Obama to appoint someone outside of the box who could serve as a populist voice against the special-interest judging by the current conservative majority. Obama today said that he will appoint a Justice with similar qualities to Justice Stevens. We will have more on the President's choice in the coming weeks, but today, let's celebrate the legacy of a great Supreme Court Justice.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on 500. Some out there have read all 500.

    - your loyal readers