Supreme Court

Justice Stevens Announces His Retirement


As Damon Root noted this morning, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced his long-anticipated retirement today. The New York Times has a warm and fuzzy profile of the leftward-drifting Ford appointee. USA Today says Stevens' successor is likely to come from the same list as Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's first Supreme Court pick, which included Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and 2nd Circuit Judge Diane Wood. Other possible contenders are D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, an assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration.

Damon Root recently questioned Stevens' reputation as a foe of big business, noting his tolerance for eminent domain abuses that benefit well-connected developers and corporations at the expense of homeowners and shopkeepers. A few months ago I noted Stevens' support for upholding a ban on flag burning, which is of a piece with his support for restrictions on election-related speech and, despite his "liberal" image, puts him to the right of Antonin Scalia on First Amendment issues.

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  1. Caption Contest!

    “Huh huh! Look at that funny thing on the radio! It looks like a buggy, but it’s moving around without a horse!”

  2. The Democrats are now currently bringin up their list of Lesbian, handicapped, Native American Ivy League law school graduates who have never written any legal opinions down or given a speech that was recorded.

    When Ginsburg was nominated people talked about her taking the Jewish seat. Does Stevens replacement therefore have to be filled with a white Protestant with Stevens I think being about the last one left on the court?

    1. No, it means that he has to be replaced with someone with military experience. 😉 (FWIW, maybe I should have included the emoticon when I mentioned it earlier.)

      1. Kennedy and Alito both have (although in Kennedy’s case it was a brief stint in the national guard) served in the military.

    2. It is interesting that although 51% of Americans identify with a Protestant Christian denomination, there are now zero Protestants on the Supreme Court. Somehow I don’t feel the “court that looks like America” crowd are too worked up about that.

      1. Sweet merciful crap! I didn’t realize that the papists had such a strong presence in SCOTUS.

        1. And if Elena Kagan is appointed, EVERYONE on the Court will be either a Catholic or a Jew… with all the Right-leaning justices being Catholics and all the Jews being Left-leaning (along with one Wise Latina Catholic for good measure).

        2. I know. Alito, Scalia and Kennedy are obvious because of their funny Irish and Eye-talian names, but who would suspect Clarence Thomas and John Roberts to be servants of Rome? Shapeshifters!

          1. It’s not like Thomas, Opus Dei member, is some kind of moderate Catholic dude…

  3. We can strike two names from the list:

    No way does Obama put AG Holder sit in front of a Senate committee to answer questions about what the fuck is going on at Justice.

    No way does Obama take Mass. Gov. Patrick out of office, leaving the door open for a Republican to take the seat in time for redistricting. Not to mention Patrick has a lot of junk in his trunk that would make for entertaining hearings.

    Napolitano? The one who said she thought the whole underwear bomber thing just proved that her department is doing a dandy job? The one who’s department issues memos targeting veterans and assorted non-Democrats as worthy of terroristical scrutiny? Sure.

    1. I think you’re right on with why he won’t pick Patrick. And after the bullshit Holder has done, he doesn’t stand a chance (not to mention that Obama would have to get someone else confirmed as AG).

      I’d put even money on Diane Wood, and 3-2 against Elena Kagan. If Obama wants a fight, he’ll nominate Wood. If he wants to appear conciliatory, he’ll go with Kagan.

      I could see either working for him. Wood, coming from the Seventh Circuit, is a liberal’s ideal appointment. Kagan would be easier for the Republican base to accept. But Kagan is a bit of a nutter on free speech. I mean, it seems like she supports it. And we all know that’s just not acceptable in Obama’s America.

  4. God damn it you sack of shit, why couldn’t you have suddenly died during Bush’s term? Don’t let the door hit you on your excess neck skin. I dread whatever socialist cocksucker Obama will appoint.

    1. Oh yeah, then we could have got some Great Defender of Liberty like Roberts.

      That statement would be true if you replace Liberty with “Executive Power”

  5. Not the Napolitano I was hoping for.

  6. I would love Obama’s nomination for this slot to be blocked and see how the Demofascists squeel. After the way they crammed Obamacare down our throats they deserve it just for the Hell of it.

  7. A few months ago I noted Stevens’ support for upholding a ban on flag burning, which is of a piece with his support for restrictions on election-related speech and, despite his “liberal” image, puts him to the right of Antonin Scalia on First Amendment issues.

    Only true if you define “right” = “bad.” There are plenty of conservatives (“right wingers”) who are better on the First Amendment than any “liberal” Obama is likely to name.

    1. Never heard of obscenity or “national security cases” I guess.

      1. What is important is to have the Demofascists and the Republifascists be able to check one another’s power. That is not going on at the moment. Right now we have the Demofascists with no checks on their power.

        And if This Be Sedition, Make the Most of It…..eed:+c4ss+(Center+for+a+Stateless+Society)&utm_content=Google+Reader

      2. Never heard of obscenity or “national security cases” I guess.

        And you’ve never heard of Justice Thomas’s dissents in obscenity cases, then. Kennedy and Thomas are probably the two most pro-First Amendment justices right now.

  8. his support for restrictions on election-related speech and, despite his “liberal” image, puts him to the right of Antonin Scalia on First Amendment issues.

    I feel Root is playing with words here. Resisting free speech is not a uniquely rightward thing. It’s a uniquely statist thing. This is evidenced by the fact that some of the nation’s most stalwart left-liberals have deep-seated animosity towards unregulated free speech.

    1. Actually, Mr. Sullum is apparently the author of this post; Mr. Root was responsible for today’s earlier one.

      1. Mr Sullum reveals his cosmotarian biases.

  9. I nominate Andrew Napolitano. He is a man that looks like America, descended from hard-woring immigrants. He faced great obstacles on his road to success.

    1. descended from hard-woring immigrants

      So is that hard-working or hard-whoring?

  10. “have suddenly died during Bush’s term?”

    really? I don’t think Bush would do any better…lets get this collapse over with.

    How about a polytheist for once? I am really getting sick of all these damn cultish montheist.

    1. He could nominate a worshipper of Moloch, but that could never happen, because what kind of judge would want to kill babies?

  11. I have the worst spelling record here….but I like that one where you are talking about the hard-whoring stock that judge came from.

    1. thanks! I did it without even trying.

    2. I beg to difer.

  12. Cass Sunstein is a “paternalist libertarian” candidate and he wants to ban conspiracy theories like “the sun is good for you”.

  13. Why harp on two areas where Stevens is (admittedly) wrongly anti-freedom? He was on the right side of freedom a lot too. The Court just doesn’t have any libertarians…

    1. I’d be hard-pressed to say any Justice in quite some time has been on the right side of freedom “a lot.”

      1. He was good in many speech areas, like obscenity, in curbing executive detention authority, in 4th Amendment cases and in Establishment Clause cases.

        Sure, he was wrong a lot too. Like I said, there ain’t no libertarian on that bench…

        1. like obscenity

          Justice Stevens reiterated his support for Red Lion and Pacifica in dicta in the recent case.

      2. Clarence Thomas ain’t bad.

        1. Yeah, yeah, Kelo, Kylo and Raich can only get you so far without noticing that he has the police and executive branch’s cock in his mouth 95% of the time.

          1. Thomas insisted in his separate dissent that Red Lion and Pacifica should be overruled. Stevens indicated that he absolutely still thinks that the FCC should have power over obscenity.

            Thomas (and Scalia) have been on the pro-defendant side on Melendez-Diaz, Ring, Crawford, Apprendi, and a whole host of important police power cases.

            Keep on living in your dreamworld.

  14. I guess we can scratch Andrew Napolitano, son of hard-woring immigrants:

    Newsmax recently interviewed author and judicial analyst Andrew P. Napolitano on how important the evolving court may be to the future health of Obamacare.

    President Barack Obama is one of the worst presidents ever in terms of respecting constitutional limitations on government, and the states suing the federal government over healthcare reform “have a pretty strong case” and are likely to prevail, according to Napolitano.

    In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV’s Ashley Martella, Napolitano says the president’s healthcare reforms amount to “commandeering” the state legislatures for federal purposes, which the Supreme Court has forbidden as unconstitutional.

    “The Constitution does not authorize the Congress to regulate the state governments,” Napolitano says. “Nevertheless, in this piece of legislation, the Congress has told the state governments that they must modify their regulation of certain areas of healthcare, they must surrender their regulation of other areas of healthcare, and they must spend state taxpayer-generated dollars in a way that the Congress wants it done.

    “That’s called commandeering the legislature,” he says. “That’s the Congress taking away the discretion of the legislature with respect to regulation, and spending taxpayer dollars. That’s prohibited in a couple of Supreme Court cases. So on that argument, the attorneys general have a pretty strong case and I think they will prevail.”

    1. So this Napolitano person you guys worship so much doesn’t understand the healthcare legislation or united states case law?

      1. That’s right, Tony. Only you understand health care law, all 2000 pages of it, and what would a former judge know of case law.

        1. Hopefully more than Napolitano has demonstrated he does.

          1. So, Tony, suppose you explain to us exactly where Judge Napolitano is in error.

      2. Tony I hate your snooty shit. You liberals would be respected a little more if you drop your nose and presented your arguments

        1. According to Tony, we libertarians are trying to *snicker* force people to live OUR way.

          How this is so, apparently, comes from the fact that we advocate for our cause.

          Oh, the humanity!

  15. so, who is your favorite SCROTUS justice, H&R fans?

    1. The Best SCOTUS justice we never had:

    2. I nominate myself. Sure I have no training as a lawyer (which may actually be a good thing), but I know bullshit when I see it.

      1. works for me.

  16. Wood is 7th, not 2nd Cir.

  17. There’s nine of them right?

    How about Paul Lynde?

  18. Alex Kozinski please

  19. I’d like to nominate this Inanimate Carbon Rod, please.

  20. St. Thomas More. He really had a head on his shoulders. And even without one, he’d be much better than the current crop of Justices.

  21. I’d support Justice Lewis Black, only to hear his rantings on C-SPAN:

    “You sniveling shits don’t know the Tenth Amendment means something?? What the fuck am I doing here?”

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