Farewell To John Paul Stevens

Below is my column in USA Today on the passing of Associate Justice John Paul Stevens. I have another column appearing today in the Sunday Washington Post’s Outlook Section. I remain surprised by the comparatively light coverage of the passage of this great man who gave so much to the country. I disagreed with Stevens on various cases, but I always held him in the highest regard as a person and as a jurist.

Here is the column:

The last time I spoke with former Justice John Paul Stevens was in 2017 at a reception for Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch after his investiture on the Supreme Court. Stevens was sitting near a corner looking frail and alone. I went over and immediately teased him over my seething jealousy over his scoring tickets to Game 4 of the 2016 World Series. Both Stevens and I grew up ardent Chicago Cubs fans and Stevens just gave his signature smile, shrugged, and said, when you pass 90, “people are in a hurry to give you stuff.”

When Stevens passed last night at 99, most of us felt that we had not given him nearly enough. Stevens transformed this country in decades of decisions, but most people only have a passing knowledge of who he was. That is how he wanted it. No, he is not the “real RBG” or Scalia. He was not a rock star. He was a jurist who spoke entirely through his opinions and what he said has helped shape the lives of every American.

Stevens’ shaped American law

Few justices have left a footprint on American jurisprudence to match John Paul Stevens. It was not simply because he served 35 years — the third-longest in Supreme Court history. It was way that Stevens ruled. He wrote opinions that were anchored in simple, coherent values that he saw in the Constitution. Stevens changed on the court from a conservative to one of the most liberal justices in history. Along the way, he found his voice as a strong defender of individual rights and an advocate for a Constitution that must evolve with society — a living document capable of securing the guarantees of the Framers in a new and changing world.

His decisions remain the foundation for whole areas of law. He is the author of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., — a decision that controls how agency decisions are reviewed and enforced by the courts. He wrote core cases under the First Amendment, the commerce clause and the Fourth Amendment that still define core rights for all Americans.

He had confidence in the underlying values of the Constitution that served as his guiding beacon. Thus, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Stevens would write the opinion supporting an enemy combatant who was stripped of all due process rights by being sent to Guantanamo Bay. Even such individuals warranted judicial review under the Constitution. 

Passing of an anti-public figure

Yet, it is not just Stevens’ wisdom that should be missed. It is his style of judging. What is most remarkable about Stevens is that he resisted efforts to turn him into a public figure. Years ago, I wrote about the advent of the “celebrity justice” as members of the court became more active in speaking publicly to adorning crowds. These events often had strong ideological identifications. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia were the most active and often created controversies over statements about pending cases or issues. The notion of judicial constituents did not sit well with some of us.

As justices actively sought public acclaim, the concern was that their public personas might influence their judicial perspective. Stevens never liked being pigeonholed by advocates. In 2007, Stevens told the New York Times “I don’t think of myself as a liberal at all.” 

There was a time when public speaking was frowned upon by the court. Justices were supposed to speak entirely through their opinions and avoid the public spotlight. I have long favored that model and Stevens was the ultimate example of the traditional approach. 

Stevens rarely spoke publicly and never craved the public acclaim. One time, Stevens and I were flying to Milwaukee on the same plane to speak at the Seventh Circuit Judicial Conference. A lawyer walked up and said that he was a big fan. To my surprise, he shook my hand. I then introduced him to Justice Stevens. The lawyer turned an ashen white and made a quick retreat. Stevens was so unknown by sight that when we were on the plane, I saw a woman hit Stevens in the head with her bag — not knowing that she was putting the future of Roe v. Wade one carry-on away from extinction.

Stevens to be missed in divided nation

Stevens was not without regrets. He regretted voting to restore the death penalty and would become one of its more fervent critics. He wrote in simple prose that was direct and clear. For example, Stevens wrote the opinion in Reno v. ACLU that the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) was unconstitutional, noting that “the interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship.” There was nothing pretentious about his writing style. Yet, his opinions spoke clearly about rights that needed no embellishment or added flourish. 

Stevens often spoke of our rights like a shared covenant of faith; a Constitution that bonds us all to core values. At a time of deepening divisions in this country, I will truly miss that voice. I will truly miss John Paul Stevens.

Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter: @JonathanTurley.

97 thoughts on “Farewell To John Paul Stevens”

  1. Now this judge slips into eternity and has to give an account to the Ultimate Judge. Good luck explaining condoning the excruciating and violent murders of tens of millions of preborn babies.

  2. I saw a joke: Why doesn’t Trump wear glasses? Because he is 2020.

    Then I read this:

    The Exceptional Trump
    Donald Trump, unlike Barack Obama &Company, loves talking about America’s “exceptional” qualities, but we tend to overlook the importance of the exceptional qualities of Trump himself.

    No, this will not be a suck-up exercise about the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    A serious discussion of President Trump and his record should not neglect Trump’s faults and mistakes, but it must honestly assess how Trump’s own background has shaped events in America and the world.

    In many respects, Trump is a fulfilment of the vision of America by the French historian Alexis De Tocqueville, who studied and described American exceptionalism almost 200 years ago, and his words are still accurate.

    De Tocqueville saw what made America special, different from Europe, and one of his observations was that great men in America tended to go into “commerce” (today we would say business), leaving politics for more mediocre people.

    If one looks at Congress, one finds a collection of mostly mediocrities, failed lawyers and future lobbyists, rarely anyone who has proven himself or herself in any field like business, science or medicine. This is especially true of the Democrats, though there are always some Republican mediocrities, too.

    One is hard-pressed to find a Democrat in the House or Senate from New York, California or Illinois who ran a successful business like Donald Trump, George W. Bush or Carly Fiorina, had a medical career like Ben Carson John Barraso or Rand Paul, or led the Screen Actors Guild like Ronald Reagan.

    Being an independent businessman who becomes a presidential candidate — whether Donald Trump or H. Ross Perot (who died this month) — promotes independent thought, and it exposes the candidate to creative concepts that are out-of-the-box and out-of-Washington.

    Trump’s critics emphasize Trump’s Twitter eruptions (and they are sometimes right to criticize), but they minimize the fact that Trump does NOT have the habits of the play-it-safe politician but rather more of the can-do man of commerce, constantly looking for ways to solve problems and curb inefficiencies.

    Even before he actually took office, Trump was trying to cut deals and cut costs — whether revising plans for the new Air Force One or bringing more jobs back to Ohio and Michigan. His work routine — long hours and personal involvement — showed he would spend less time golfing in Hawaii and vacationing in Camp David.

    Any fair assessment of Trump starts by realizing that Trump knows how to work, how to make others work for him, how to make money and how to make money work for you.

    Donald Trump is the first modern president who has learned life’s lessons of how economic forces work. Trump does not need to read Paul Samuelson or (God Forbid) Paul Krugman. He understands how to leverage money for building a hotel in New York (that others said would never be built) or how to leverage money, tariffs and sanctions to deter, seduce and coerce China, Iran and Russia, and even Mexico and Canada.

    This is a businessman who loves to take credit and hates to walk away from a fight but who loves it even more when he makes a deal no one else could make, collecting the profits (even without taking credit).

    You will not hear the “experts” at NBC or CNN or NYT or WashPost admit this, but this exceptional man, who wanted to deal with Vladimir Putin, was also the first US president whose forces actually fired at the Russians — twice in Syria. Tell that to the huffy puffy hallucinators who claim Trump “colluded with Russia.”

    These are the same partisan geniuses who insist Barack Obama deserved a Nobel Peace Prize, ignoring Obama’s hand in bringing more destruction to Syria, millions of refugees to Europe, a failed state in Libya, and nuclear bombs within the grasp of the Iranian ayatollahs.

    Trump’s foreign policy record is an amazing reversal of Obama’s failures, and Trump’s economic record is real.

    They are exceptional achievements, especially extraordinary for being achieved in the teeth of the “resistance” deployed against him by the media-Democrat team.

    One need not be a Trump devotee to appreciate the amazing record of more jobs and higher wages achieved — despite the forecasts by “experts.” One need not be a fan of Trump’s to appreciate that his attention to Asian affairs was not the kind of policy fiction of Obama-Clinton-Kerry

    By all means, keep criticizing Trump — his rhetoric, his style, his long ties, his hair, ya-da-ya-da, but step back to appreciate the full picture.

    Take exception to elements of Trump’s style, but not Trump’s exceptionalism.

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/07/the_exceptional_trump.html

        1. mespo…..Thank you ….a little better every day…I left you a detailed message over on the Berkley Manhole post, I think.
          You’re kind! I’ll tell him!

        2. mespo….Thank you…a little better each day…I left a detailed message for you over on the Berkeley Manhole post, I think.
          You’re kind! I’ll tell him!

            1. Allan…Thank you. He had an abdominal aortic aneurysm RUPTURE.
              We now know that is called a “triple A” …..very little chance of surviving the rupture and 50/50 chance, the surgery.
              We wore-out our prayer rug, needless to say!
              Thank you, Allan.

              1. Cindy:

                He’s one tough hombre to survive that. It runs in our family and my grandfather died from it. There are typically no symptoms and its usually found by accident. He’s lucky.

                1. mespo…….Oh, so sorry about your grandfather. Yes, David is so lucky.
                  He said to tell you that he’ll be getting back up on the horse in 3 weeks.
                  Thank you, mespo.

                  1. Cindy, AAA is not what it used to be. Mortality has decreased by 50% since the 1990s in part because of decrease in cigarette smoking (a key risk factor), management of atherosclerosis (another key risk factor), hypertension (ditto) and surgical procedures that have been introduced since then (i.e. endovascular surgery). Additionally AAA result from dysfunction of the inner layer of cells (endothelin) of arteries which the already stated risk factors precipitate. All arteries are at risk including femoral, popliteal (knee), renal, mesenteric/GI, etc with the Aorta being the mother of all arteries, going from the heart to the legs (iliac arteries). The majority occur between the renal arteries and inferior mesenteric arteries (i.e. above belly button) and often have associated symptoms like severe abdominal, back or flank pain, hypotension and malaise. AAA can by asymptomatic, symptomatic with rupture and symptomatic without rupture. All in all the wisdom of avoiding vices, regular exercise and embracing healthy lifestyle choices apply. Americans grasp at blaming hereditary factors but these pale in comparison to those already mentioned. Practicing self-care can not be stressed enough.

                    Mens sana in corpore sano applies

                    Be well

  3. I want what I want when I want it. Living document. Some people want this to be a living document on steroids!

  4. The Judicial Branch:

    – Abuse of Power

    – Usurpation of Power

    – Nullification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights

    – Denial of Constitutional Rights and Freedoms

    – Gross Negligence

    – Gross Dereliction

    – Gross Misrepresentation

    – Public Corruption

    – Fraud

    – Treason

    – et al.

      1. You should have your family check you back into the asylum. All of the rights, freedoms, privileges and immuniites of Americans have been stolen by the failure of the judicial branch to “declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

        Here is not what I am trying to say but what I said. Americans have had their Constitution and Bill of Rights stolen by the communists.

        To be sure, the Constitution and Bill of Rights provide individuals with maximal freedom as they provide government with maximal limitations and restrictions – the American Founders implemented self-governance and ended, in perpetuity, dictatorship by monarchy, proletariat and any other forms thereof. The maximal rights and freedoms of individuals are superior, not inferior, to the maximally limited and restricted power of Congress, including all inferior levels of government. Individuals enjoy maximal rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities at all levels of government. States may not abrogate constitutional rights and freedoms such as speech, press, religion and assembly and sates may not void immunities such as limitations on taxation for individual welfare and protection of private property rights including minimum wage, affirmative action, rent control, regulation, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.

        The Good Professor fails to mention that the entire American Communist Welfare State is irrefutably unconstitutional and should have been struck down by the Supreme Court at inception, circa 1913, and every point thereafter. The singular American failure has been and is the Supreme Court. The judicial branch is totally corrupt and “legislates from the bench.” America has two political legislative branches and no judicial branch. The Supreme Court knows no objectivity or “manifest tenor.” The only actions that should be taken relative to the Supreme Court and judicial branch are impeachment, conviction and Drawing and Quartering for the worst kind of treason – deliberate jurisprudential corruption, abuse of power, usurpation of power and nullification of the fundamental law; the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The dictatorship of the judicial branch must be annihilated. The Supreme Court and judicial branch must show the proper deference to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court and judicial branch are not superior and are certainly not equal when they are subject to impeachment and conviction by the de facto superior, legislative branch. The process of impeachment and conviction must be strengthened and accelerated to accommodate the burgeoning, politically aggressive acts of the treasonous and out-of-control judicial branch (the 9th circuit would have Americans believe it is the president).

        Article 1, Section 8 allows taxation for only general welfare not individual welfare. General welfare translates to ALL WELL PROCEED and involves basic goods and services that all people use in similar amounts and frequency – roads, water, post office, sewer, electricity, heating gas/oil, trash pick-up, etc. (food, clothing and healthcare are used differently in type and frequency on an individual basis).

        Article 1, Section 8 allows regulation only of exchange, trade or “…commerce among the several States…” and no other regulation is enumerated or constitutional. Industry is and must be self-regulating. Citizens may seek “relief” from industry in courts of law. The right of citizens to petition the government for grievances does not provide those citizens any power to seize private property, socially engineer and/or impose dictatorship in America.

        The right to private property is absolute and precludes possession or disposition by government for any purpose with the sole exception of “taking” private property under Eminent Domain. Congress has no authority to dictate to whom private property is sold or rented or to regulate the design, engineering, marketing or sales of the products of private enterprises. Industries must self-regulate. The Constitution and Bill of Rights provide the right to private property and private, by definition, means private not public. Private excludes public. Private excludes government. Private excludes Congress. Private excludes state and local legislatures.

        ___________________________________________________________

        One of the Framers of the Constitution stated the fundamental duty of the judicial branch.

        “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

        “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

        – Alexander Hamilton
        _________________

        Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto 59 years after the adoption of the Constitution because none of the principles of the Communist Manifesto were in the Constitution. Had the principles of the Communist Manifesto been in the Constitution, Karl Marx would have had no reason to write the Communist Manifesto. The principles of the Communist Manifesto were not in the Constitution then and the principles of the Communist Manifesto are not in the Constitution now.

        The entire communistic American welfare state is unconstitutional including, but not limited to, affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, rent control, social services, forced busing, minimum wage, utility subsidies, WIC, TANF, HAMP, HARP, Education, Labor, Obamacare, Obamaphones, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing,” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.

        Any and all antithetical, unconstitutional and communistic programs of redistribution of wealth, social engineering, central planning and/or control of the means of production (i.e. regulation) must be privatized and removed in their entirety and with extreme prejudice from the realm of self-government and confiscatory taxation.

        1. Repeating what you said doesn’t make it more comprehendible! The problem with our country is the breakdown of the Union, not anything that the Executive or Judicial has done, but the failure of Congress to be the Governing Authority in our Country. Congress is the Federal Government, the Assembly of the States to Govern Together as Equals. The Executive and Judicial are supporting Governing institutions, subordinate to and directly accountable to Congress, the Union. The Executive is for managing the day to day operations of the Government so that the Union can concentrate on more critical issues, or recess, the Judicial is only for dispute resolution between the a State and other States, or between s State(s) and the Union, this I’d called original jurisdiction and SCOTUS must immediately take up these cases without exception, no filing in lower courts required.

          You talk, and copy, like you have some understanding of Governing systems and the Constitution, but you fit the phrase that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and you are a loose cannon without direction.

          We are in a state of anarchy and chaos is the result, because we have no established authority in our Governing system. The Union is Supposed to be that Authority, and only the States as the Union can Reestablish that Authority.

            1. Sorry Mr Kurtz, I’m not a lady, and your suggestion that I am shows a bigoted overtone. Also, if you don’t understand what I write, then that demonstrates a failure of comprehension on your part, not mine. Maybe you should try reading the Constitution instead of the interpretations of the Constitution provided by Parties and those who choose to interpret the Constitution for Political advantage.

  5. “Along the way, he found his voice as a strong defender of individual rights and an advocate for a Constitution that must evolve with society — a living document capable of securing the guarantees of the Framers in a new and changing world. Jonathan Turley

    This is all we need to discuss to understand what’s wrong with the role of the Supreme Court in our Government, and what’s wrong with our Government itself. I’m sure you know that the Constitution is best considered in two parts, a timeless part, and a time sensitive part. The Articles are timeless and totally free of Politics and Partisanship, in fact the only variable in the Articles of the Constitution is the Population Distribution, which is reassessed every 10 years to account for population increases and migration. The Constitution Unamended, therefore, is a living document in the same way as the mathematical principles in your copy of the algebra book you used as a Freshman in High School, unalterable in every respect! Therefore any amendments to the Articles of the Constitution must be rendered practically impossible, and any changes must be justified beyond a simple argument of dissatisfaction or inability to use Constitution for political advantage.

    What this phrase, “living Document” means is that we would like to interpret the Constitution to fit our Political System as it exist and morphs over time, because the Constitution makes it impossible for us to gain and maintain political advantage and control as we would like, because it is a totally nonpartisan and apolitical document, it’s based totally on the distribution and number of inhabitants, only!

    Let’s start with the two of the most basic concepts in the Constitution, the Apportionment of Representation and Direct Taxes among the several States within the Union according to their Respective number of inhabitants, and Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress, and The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves, The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

    Everyone should recognize these two interrelated and dependent Clauses from Article 1 Section 2 Clause 3 and Article 2 Section 1 of the US Constitution. The dependence of Article 2 Section 1 is in the determination of the whole number of Representatives each State is Entitled in the Congress. Notice the two important factors are “Whole Number”and “Entitled”. Entitled means that you have the right to maximize to that limit, so the States have the Constitutional right to maximize their representation in Congress to the Whole Number that does not exceed 1 for 30,000, which determines the number of Electors which each State is Entitled when 2 Electors for each State’s Senators are added to the whole number of Representatives each State is Entitled. Notice, this is the number they are entitled, Not the number political forces have decided to give them in Congress.

    This whole number of Representatives is a completely Nonpartisan calculation based upon the number of inhabitants in each State alone, no racial demographics, no wealth demographics, no district demographics, no political demographics, no demographics of any kind, just the whole number of inhabitants in each State. Is a tourist an inhabitant? NO! Is an illegal alien an inhabitant? NO! Are the Unborn inhabitants! No, not for the purpose of the enumeration to determine representation and direct taxes each State is Entitled.
    .
    Now that we have considered representation and the number of Electors each State is Entitled, we can talk about the Electoral Process to Select the President. The first thing we must recognize is that the Electoral Process established by Article 2 Section 1 of the Constitution, which was not changed by the 12th Amendment, is a Blind Election Process, meaning the candidates have no have no role in the Selection Process, and the Electors do not vote from a predetermined list of Candidates, the list of candidates is determined by the Electors Themselves, recorded, certified, sealed, and transmitted to the Seat of Government Directed to the President of the Senate, to be opened by the President of the Senate in the Presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

    Why have I gone through all this trouble citing these fundamental principles of Republican Government from the Constitution? Because the Supreme Court cases plaguing our Court System today have everything to do with proper Representation and Assembly of our Governing Institutions and the proper function of the Electoral Processes of those who preside over those Governing institutions. The most important of which is the assembly and authority of the Union itself. This includes but is not limited to districts, gerrymandering, the number of Representatives, the members of Congress, the Suffrage of the members of Congress, Control of Congress and other Governing institutions, primary elections and the choosing of Party nominees, general elections for President and Senators, state wide elections and winner takes all by State, Electoral College Votes vs. Electors that Vote, all have a common theme and that is proper representation of the people to act for the People as the people in their collective capacity in our Governing assemblies as if the people themselves were present in the Assembly to vote for themselves.

    One example is enough to show how far the Supreme Court is from the principles of the Constitution. Bush v. Gore, that should be enough on its own, but we need to understand why this was a case that was not only decided incorrectly, it shouldn’t have been taken by the court at all, in fact the court could have used this case as a teaching moment in the Presidential Electoral Process.

    The court should never have taken the case because neither of the litigants in the .case had any standing, only the States Themselves have the Standing to bring a case on the matter of the Electoral Process that is established in Article 2 Section 1 and the 12th Amendment. Therefore the Court should have asked a simple question of Florida, what was the day determined by Congress for the selection of Electors, and did your State in fact choose Electors on that day, what are their names, and how were they chosen? If Florida did not in fact choose their Electors on the day determined by Congress then by Article 2 Section 1 of the Constitution, they cannot participate when the Electors are to vote on the subsequent date, also chosen by congress, when the Electors are to gather in their respective states to vote. Remember, New York did not participate in the first election because they did not ratify the Constitution before the election to choose the Electors and Vote.

    Let me remind you again, the Electoral Processes established in Article 2 Section 1 and the 12th Amendment are Blind Elections, and the qualifying electorate is comprised only of the chosen Electors, who Vote by Ballot selecting candidates they themselves vetted, Not from a predetermined list of candidates of The Parties Choosing.

    This is what the Supreme Court is for, to remind us, and in some cases educate us, on the principles of the Constitution and their proper application. If the Supreme Court actually preformed this role, then we would not have Parties controlling our Governing institutions, or the Electoral Processes by which our Governing institutions are assembled, and the Union would be the Ultimate Authority, the United States, in Congress Assembled, The Union that makes our Country the United States of America.

    So do I think Stevens was a good and admirable jurist as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court? No, but within the system he served in, he comported himself admirably, trying to stay above the Partisan Politics and Political System which is debasing our Government and our society!

  6. The first writings of a Supreme Court Justice that I ever read was John Paul Stevens, many years ago. Though I didn’t always agree with him, I greatly enjoyed reading his opinions.

    Where I fundamentally differed from Justice Stevens was his belief that the Constitution evolved with society. There is a process for such evolution to happen. It’s the Amendment process, which goes through the legislative branch of the government. The court is not a legislative branch, something that was difficult for some judges to accept. Undue power should not be granted to lifetime appointees, especially where so many have become politicized.

    1. Karen, give us a break. The constitution has to be a ‘living document’. We can’t be forever shackled to the 1780’s. And that’s basically what you’re suggesting here.

      1. The constitution is not a living document, it was never intended to be a living document, and they put mechanisms in place to restore the constitution and its principles to its as ratified condition, because they knew that we would “F” it up given enough time.

        As for being shackled, you are wearing the shackles of the Party system designed by the Political Aristocracy after the Civil War to gain control of our Government and the economic structure of our country.

        Wake up, the Constitution Unamended is the only way to fix our Government, By Reestablishing the Union as the ultimate authority in our Government.

        The United States, in Congress Assembled, The Union that makes our Country the United States of America!

        Quit thinking you, or anyone else today, knows more about Governing Systems then the Framers of the Constitution!

        1. Fed Papers, you sound like the spokesman for a rightwing militia. A dogmatic explainer of where the country should be. You envision a never land. An America that’s stuck decades back in time. Because our Founding Fathers were Amish, or so you believe.

          1. Your governing system doesn’t need to change to accommodate change and evolution in your society. In fact a stable system will encourage and foster evolution in your society. The Governing System established by the Constitution would be better today then it was when it was ratified for two very important reasons, we no longer have anything but free persons to be counted for the purpose of Apportionment of Representation and Direct Taxes, and the qualifying electorate to choose representatives for each State is more diverse reflecting the actual diversity of each State.

            I’ll let you think about that for a minute with your very narrow view and understanding of the Constitution, and maybe you should take an opportunity to reread the Unamended version of the Constitution for yourself, it should only take about an hour even for a slow reader. Then get back with me and tell me what is right wing about collective decisions making in an indirect Democracy represented by the full diversity of the Country.

            You need to get off your high horse so you can see what a Government of the People actually looks like. Be careful not to step in your own BS!

      2. Peter, the Constitution has an amendment process for a purpose. Tbe founders knew that a lot of devious, unethical and unreliable people would come after them and decided to try and hold them back.

  7. “Thus, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Stevens would write the opinion supporting an enemy combatant who was stripped of all due process rights by being sent to Guantanamo Bay. Even such individuals warranted judicial review under the Constitution.”
    ***********************
    Actually the ruling forced American courts to enforce the provisions of the Geneva Convention which Stevens thought was part of the ordinary “laws of war” and thus incorporated into the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Thus an international law was now taking precedence over domestic law and Congress was powerless to stop it through its legislating process. Therefore this treaty between nations now conferred individual rights to enemy combatants in the US. A quick read through Judge Randolph’s cogent opinion in the DC Court of Appeals lays waste to this rubbish but alas Steven “was right because he was last.”

    https://web.archive.org/web/20060616063124/http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/docs/common/opinions/200507/04-5393a.pdf

  8. “Along the way, he found his voice as a strong defender of individual rights and an advocate for a Constitution that must evolve with society — a living document capable of securing the guarantees of the Framers in a new and changing world.”
    ****************************
    Stevens was a bright elitist with some regard for SOME rights of the commoner but more for the power of the state against the individual. Towards the end, he went off the rails opposing the death penalty, seeking repeal of the 2nd Amendment and criticizing a sitting POTUS.

    Despite his solid liberal cred, lots of his opinions reveal a frame of reference where little people mattered not so much if their concerns were about such bourgeois interests their property. Here he is authoring the statist attack on property rights opining that the government can take your home without your consent if it merely has a public purpose in mind (like handing it over to a developer) and not a public use (like a road) as the justices of the 19th century required.

    The case, KELO V. NEW LONDON 545 U.S. 469 (2005), was a nasty land grab by the city for benefit of a redeveloper, who stood to get a 91-acre waterfront tract of land for $1 per year. After Stevens approved the deal, the development fell through and the displaced homeowners were unable to reclaim their land. The project is now a vacant lot. The fiasco was foreseen by Justice Thomas who presciently remarked in dissent:

    “Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Though citizens are safe from the government in their homes, the homes themselves are not.”

    I bet there are no memorials tonight in New London.

    1. “…seriously awry…” indeed!

      Most certainly not Hamilton’s “manifest tenor.”

      None other than treason; likely for corrupt personal gain by surreptitious means, somewhere along the line.

      Draw and Quarter or Guillotine, I leave the choice to you, Sir.

    2. While Stevens denied that Pfizer had any impact on his decision in Kelo, one has to wonder if the case might have been decided differently with Pfizer out of the picture.

      There’s a new development planned, but at what cost?

      https://ij.org/case/kelo/

      “Meanwhile, in New London, the Fort Trumbull project has been a dismal failure. After spending close to $80 million in taxpayer money, there has been no new construction whatsoever and the neighborhood is now a barren field. In 2009, Pfizer, the lynchpin of the disastrous economic development plan, announced that it was leaving New London for good, just as its tax breaks are set to expire.”

  9. I hope that someone will post on this blog Stevens’ best First Amendment decisions as well as 4th, 5th, 14th Amendment decisions. Any right of privacy under the 9th Amendment decisions? We need to keep on discussing this Justice.

    1. And folks: click on the First Amendtment and Fourth Amendment red lettered words in the Turley topic above to see some good things.

    2. Liberty2nd:

      Stevens was no First Amendment absolutist at least in his early days. In Texas v. Johnson (1989) he dissented on the controversial flag burning law arguing that prohibiting this shameful act was no real burden on the First Amendment guarantee of the right to expression. He also thought the Westboro Baptist Church thugs should have been prohibited from offending military families at funerals as their purpose was not expression but intentional infliction of emotional distress. Too bad he retired before that one. I agree with his analysis in both cases but his dissent in Heller cinches it for me that he lost it late in his term. Steven argued that the Second Amendment did not provide protection for nonmilitary uses of firearms for things like hunting or target shooting. And incredibly he said the Amendment didn’t provide for their use in self-defense despite eons of common law to the contray. That’s an affront to centuries old American law, custom and tradition. You can read about the English foundation of the Second Amendment here:

      https://jonathanturley.org/2011/01/16/their-rights-as-englishmen-a-brief-history-of-the-second-amendment-part-i/

      The old guy had reached crank stage by the time Heller rolled around (2008) like RBG and should have shown the pasture then instead of 2 years later.

      1. “The old guy had reached crank stage…”

        One day, you too will be old, mespo727272. Have a little respect.

      2. The old guy had reached crank stage by the time Heller rolled around (2008) like RBG ….

        How do we rid our courts from the disastrous RBG?

        I am stunned she is allowed, given her poor health and many violations of judicial ethics, to still serve on SCOTUS.

  10. Surely you jest, Professor Turley.

    The Supreme Court has been driving out of its lane since 1861.

    To be sure, the Constitution and Bill of Rights provide individuals with maximal freedom as they provide government with maximal limitations and restrictions – the American Founders implemented self-governance and ended, in perpetuity, dictatorship by monarchy, proletariat and any other forms thereof. The maximal rights and freedoms of individuals are superior, not inferior, to the maximally limited and restricted power of Congress, including all inferior levels of government. Individuals enjoy maximal rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities at all levels of government. States may not abrogate constitutional rights and freedoms such as speech, press, religion and assembly and sates may not void immunities such as limitations on taxation for individual welfare and protection of private property rights including minimum wage, affirmative action, rent control, regulation, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.

    The Good Professor fails to mention that the entire American Communist Welfare State is irrefutably unconstitutional and should have been struck down by the Supreme Court at inception, circa 1913, and every point thereafter. The singular American failure has been and is the Supreme Court. The judicial branch is totally corrupt and “legislates from the bench.” America has two political legislative branches and no judicial branch. The Supreme Court knows no objectivity or “manifest tenor.” The only actions that should be taken relative to the Supreme Court and judicial branch are impeachment, conviction and Drawing and Quartering for the worst kind of treason – deliberate jurisprudential corruption, abuse of power, usurpation of power and nullification of the fundamental law; the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The dictatorship of the judicial branch must be annihilated. The Supreme Court and judicial branch must show the proper deference to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court and judicial branch are not superior and are certainly not equal when they are subject to impeachment and conviction by the de facto superior, legislative branch. The process of impeachment and conviction must be strengthened and accelerated to accommodate the burgeoning, politically aggressive acts of the treasonous and out-of-control judicial branch (the 9th circuit would have Americans believe it is the president).

    Article 1, Section 8 allows taxation for only general welfare not individual welfare. General welfare translates to ALL WELL PROCEED and involves basic goods and services that all people use in similar amounts and frequency – roads, water, post office, sewer, electricity, heating gas/oil, trash pick-up, etc. (food, clothing and healthcare are used differently in type and frequency on an individual basis).

    Article 1, Section 8 allows regulation only of exchange, trade or “…commerce among the several States…” and no other regulation is enumerated or constitutional. Industry is and must be self-regulating. Citizens may seek “relief” from industry in courts of law. The right of citizens to petition the government for grievances does not provide those citizens any power to seize private property, socially engineer and/or impose dictatorship in America.

    The right to private property is absolute and precludes possession or disposition by government for any purpose with the sole exception of “taking” private property under Eminent Domain. Congress has no authority to dictate to whom private property is sold or rented or to regulate the design, engineering, marketing or sales of the products of private enterprises. Industries must self-regulate. The Constitution and Bill of Rights provide the right to private property and private, by definition, means private not public. Private excludes public. Private excludes government. Private excludes Congress. Private excludes state and local legislatures.

    ___________________________________________________________

    One of the Framers of the Constitution stated the fundamental duty of the judicial branch.

    “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    – Alexander Hamilton
    _________________

    Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto 59 years after the adoption of the Constitution because none of the principles of the Communist Manifesto were in the Constitution. Had the principles of the Communist Manifesto been in the Constitution, Karl Marx would have had no reason to write the Communist Manifesto. The principles of the Communist Manifesto were not in the Constitution then and the principles of the Communist Manifesto are not in the Constitution now.

    The entire communistic American welfare state is unconstitutional including, but not limited to, affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, rent control, social services, forced busing, minimum wage, utility subsidies, WIC, TANF, HAMP, HARP, Education, Labor, Obamacare, Obamaphones, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing,” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.

    Any and all antithetical, unconstitutional and communistic programs of redistribution of wealth, social engineering, central planning and/or control of the means of production (i.e. regulation) must be privatized and removed in their entirety and with extreme prejudice from the realm of self-government and confiscatory taxation.

    1. Did you get your legal and constitutional education at Hillsdale college? It’s true that everything we call Government today is unconditional, but not for the reasons you state, it’s because they have circumvented the Union itself, maybe you should consider what the Union is in our Country, the first instance of our Union is in the Declaration of Independence. I would suggest you starting there before you make your next unsubstantiated diatribe.

      The States as the Union wrote the Declaration of Independence, they formed their first Union by the Articles of Confederation, and they formed a More Perfect Union of the States by the Constitution. Meaning the States wrote the Constitution for themselves to form a Union to Govern Together as Equals.

      The Union is the Predominant Authority in our Country and that Union is assembled in Congress. On every document from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, to today’s Congress, you will find heading each piece of Legislative business the phrase; the United States, in
      Congress Assembled, that’s the Union that makes our Country the United States of America!

      And the Governing system established by the Constitution is not communist, it’s not a Party Governing System, and it is not even a Democracy, it’s a Confederated (compound) Republic based upon State Equality, and each State has Equal Suffrage to reach Majority Consensus on all Laws and all Treaties (Foreign Policy). The States have all the Power in our Governing System, The People in their Collective Capacity, and they don’t share power with the Executive or Judicial, and they Definitely don’t share power with Political Parties, maybe you should spend a little time figuring out what all that means!

  11. John Paul Stevens is an example of the folly when truth, justice and fairness are defined through the viscous lens of liberal vs conservative ideologies. Slippery slopes arise from fluid “thinking”

    John Paul Stevens Was a ‘Liberal Champion,’ Except When He Wasn’t<
    The late Supreme Court justice was an inconsistent defender of civil liberties.

    Stevens played a significant role in whittling away at the Fourth Amendment’s ban on “unreasonable searches and seizures” to facilitate the war on drugs. He sided with the majority in decisions saying that a sniff by a drug-detecting dog is not a search, that police may search closed containers in cars and observe backyards from the air without a warrant, that a suspected drug smuggler can be detained until she defecates under supervision, and that a driver’s unusually long wait at a stop sign justifies stopping him and peering into his car. He dissented from a 2001 decision that said police need a warrant to conduct infrared surveillance of a home, and in 2005 he wrote a decision that allowed police to use drug-sniffing dogs during routine traffic stops.

    Nor is Stevens’ record on freedom of speech especially liberal. He wrote both the 1978 decision that upheld regulation of broadcast indecency and the 1997 decision that overturned regulation of online indecency. He voted to uphold censorship of student newspapers and to overturn censorship of student banners. In 1989 and 1990 he dissented from decisions overturning state and federal bans on flag burning. In 2010 he angrily dissented from a decision that said people organized as corporations, including nonprofit interest groups, have a right to talk about politics, even at election time.

    In cases involving property rights, protected by the Fifth and 14th Amendments, Stevens generally sided with the government. Although he once agreed that the government owes property owners compensation for a “taking” when its regulations reduce or destroy the value of their land, he later repudiated that principle. In 2005 he wrote the notorious decision in Kelo v. City of New London that upheld the use of eminent domain to transfer property from one private owner to another in the name of economic development.

    While contemporary liberals tend not to get very worked up about violations of property rights, Kelo prompted dismay across the political spectrum, because it so clearly empowered wealthy, politically influential interests to literally bulldoze over the plans and expectations of ordinary people with less pull. Stevens nevertheless continued to defend that decision after leaving the Court, saying he had “a duty to give deference” to “the state courts’ evaluation of the particular development plan that gave rise to the litigation,” no matter how half-baked or thinly justified it might be.

    Stevens also wrote the 2005 decision in Gonzales v. Raich, which held that the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce extends to the the tiniest trace of marijuana anywhere in the country, even if it is produced at home, never crosses state lines, and is used by a cancer patient for medical purposes authorized by state law. While federalism is usually perceived as a “conservative” issue, Stevens’ position in Raich can hardly be described as liberal in the contemporary or classical sense. Yet Greenhouse thinks his liberal tendencies are illustrated by his determination to resist “what had appeared to be the unstoppable states’-rights tilt of the Rehnquist court’s federalism revolution.”

    In Kelo, Stevens approved the use of eminent domain for redevelopment because he thought the Supreme Court should not second-guess the decisions of state and local officials. In Raich, by contrast, he insisted that the federal government had the authority to override state policy. The unifying theme is not a preference for state autonomy or federal control; it is deference to the government, at whatever level, when its actions impinge on individual rights that Stevens did not view as important.

    https://reason.com/2019/07/17/john-paul-stevens-was-a-liberal-champion-except-when-he-wasnt/

    1. Estovir, the surprising thing about Kelo vs City of New London is that many Liberals blamed the conservative court for forcing people to sell to large for profit concerns. Even some lawyers not involved in these types of issues made the same mistake.

      In Kelo the Liberal Justices forced smaller private property owners to sell to large businesses for development and the payment for the property wasn’t the value of the property for a business investment. The small owners got scr-wed by the Liberal court and that is not uncommon. I could not believe that decision.

  12. “John Paul Stevens: canny strategist and the ‘finest legal mind’ President Ford could find”

    July 16, 2019 at 8:48 pm Updated July 17, 2019 at 7:40 am

    https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation-politics/john-paul-stevens-canny-strategist-and-the-finest-legal-mind-president-ford-could-find/

    By ADAM LIPTAK
    The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired from the Supreme Court in 2010 and died Tuesday at 99, was the last of a breed. He was chosen for his ability as a lawyer and not, as is common today, for how he was likely to vote in ideologically charged cases. In picking him in 1975, President Gerald Ford, a Republican, said all he wanted was “the finest legal mind I could find.”

    1. Republicans have picked out Supreme Court Justices that end up on both the Liberal and Conservative sides. Not the same with Democrats who are morally corrupt.

  13. “Stevens changed on the court from a conservative to one of the most liberal justices in history. Along the way, he found his voice as a strong defender of individual rights and an advocate for a Constitution that must evolve with society ”

    I think we are all familiar with Stevens and some like Anon can look his name up in Wikipedia, but the most revealing thing about the post was Turley’s fondess towards Stevens’ Constitutional approach. What Turely said about Stevens revealed once again Turley is on the left side of the aisle not the right.

    “Stevens changed on the court from a conservative to one of the most liberal justices in history. Along the way, he found his voice as a strong defender of individual rights and an advocate for a Constitution that must evolve with society”

    I wish Turley would give more credence to the Amendment process.

      1. Brainless Wonder you get upset when I reply to you yet you can’t seem to stay away and always interject looking for a reply. If you had something of substance to say it might make sense but I don’t remember you saying anything substantive in your own words. That is why you are known as the Brainless Wonder. I know that you are lonely but find an imbecile to argue with so you start our at the same starting point.

          1. Allan is Allan and Brainless is brainless. What more can be said?

            Why don’t you join the forever lonely woman’s club?

            1. “Allan is Allan”…

              LOL.

              Poor lonely and clueless Allan. (Judging by his frequent comments, there’s one clear winner for inclusion in the Lonely Hearts Club — and that would be…wait for it…: ALLAN.

              1. Nah, I’m happily married. My businesses keep me tied to the computer so a quick posting to you is my waterfountain break and that can be done almost anywhere. You on the other hand need a Lonely Hearts Club. It’s easy to understand why and is obvious in your postings.

                1. Allan is a charter member of the Lonely Hearts Club; he’s the original Mr. Lonely Heart.

                  (Keep spinning tales about your life, Allan. Some of us know better.)

                1. Cindy, your Allan is a complete jerk. He called me, a father of Jewish children, and anti-semite. He regularly includes ridiculous insinuations and accusations about my personal life which he has no way of knowing. GIven how poorly reasoned his posts are – you didn’t say he was smart – and what a jerk he is, I rarely bother to respond.

                  Surely you can find better men than Allan and Trump to praise. Most of us are.

                  1. Anon, Your statements and the way they are directed show you to be an arrogant fool. Your derogatory remark to the prayer of an entire people alive and dead,”next year in Jerusalem”, demonstrated you to be an insensitive dolt. But, that was not enough for you. You followed that statement with another, “If modern jews want to go there they can buy a ticket today” which is pretty insulting and very glib especially for one that talks about his Jewish children.

                    1. Allan — Why you so angry, bro? You are giving Trump supporters bad juju vibes. U can Do better.

                    2. “Allan — Why you so”

                      Sneaky bro, when you have a name we can discuss such things.

                  2. One of Cindy Bragg’s self-appointed roles on the blog is that of “sycophant.” She shows who and what she is by jumping in and singing Allan’s praises.

                    1. Anonymous…My role as sycophant is not “self-appointed”.
                      I am legally bound, pursuant to my contract with WordPress, to conduct myself as such.

                  3. My comments explaining the meaning of “Next Year in Jerusalem” to Allan were not derogatory to Jews or anyone other than maybe Allan..

                    1. Your words say it all. I didn’t have to modify them or take them out of context which is your forte. You proved yourself a fool as Jan F., you proved yourself a fool as Anon, you proved yourself a fool as Anon 1 and now you are proving yourself a fool as Anonymous 1. You are a loser.

  14. Stevens rarely spoke publicly and never craved the public acclaim.

    He didn’t care about ordinary people. If you don’t think he wanted the ‘acclaim’ of law faculties, I’m vending bridges.

  15. Stevens was not without regrets. He regretted voting to restore the death penalty and would become one of its more fervent critics.

    Since the use of capital sentences is expressly regulated in the document, any judicial opinion contending it was categorically illegitimate would be an act of brazen intellectual fraud.

  16. Robert Bork’s take on Stevens – an amiable bubble-dweller who could not transcend intellectually the tastes and prejudices of his social circle – seems more apt. Constitutional law in this country is a bogus subdiscipline, and Stevens was among those who have made it so. Let’s forget the pompous old man.

    1. Yeah, Bork, who’s only achievement of note – unlike Judge Stevens – was lacking the nuts to refuse Nixon’s order to execute the Saturday Night Massacre.

      1. Archibald Cox did not have a property right to his job.

        That aside, Elliot Richardson and Robert Bork explained publicly in 1987 why Richardson, Wm. Ruckleshaus, and Bork had choreographed Cox’s dismissal the way they did. The concern of all three of them was that if they’d all left the department at the same time, Nixon would (per statutory provisions then in effect) appoint a White House lawyer as acting attorney-general. The anxiety among the three was that would provoke a mass walk-out of lawyers employed in the Criminal Division.

        Your record of making false and misleading statements is unimpaired.

        1. Nice fantasy TIA. Is that in “GOP Bedtime Stories”?

          “In his posthumously published memoirs, Bork said Nixon promised him the next seat on the Supreme Court following Bork’s role in firing Cox. Nixon was unable to carry out that promise, but President Ronald Reagan nominated Bork for the Supreme Court in 1987; he was rejected by the Senate.[21]

          The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 was a direct result of the Saturday Night Massacre.[22]”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night_Massacre

          1. Nice fantasy TIA. Is that in “GOP Bedtime Stories”?

            It was a matter of public record in 1987, attested to by Richardson in television interviews and Bork in sworn testimony in front of Congress. Maybe you were too busy at civil rights marches and doing your tax returns to notice.

    2. TIA x X about Stevens: “Let’s forget the pompous old man.”

      Good advice…applied to TIA x X:

      “Let’s forget the pompous old man.” He’s truly insufferable.

      1. You live and breathe woman because the assisted living center staff hasn’t gamed a way to put you out of their misery outside the purview of the security cams.

                  1. If you want to be recognized for your content use a defining name. Don’t hide behind the Brainless Wonder.

                    1. Allan is a charter member of the Lonely Hearts Club — and the true Brainless Wonder. Sad.

                    2. Anonymous, you are really pitiful. No originality. You even have to copy what others have said. You truly are a Brainless Wonder.

Leave a Reply