The Life and Legacy of John Paul Stevens

Below is my column in the Washington Post Sunday on the legacy of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. With roughly 35 years on the bench, he was the nation’s second oldest and third-longest serving justice.

Stevens will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Monday. On Tuesday his funeral will be held and he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I expect he would have preferred center field at Wrigley but this is a strong second option.

Here is the column:

After 35 years on the court, John Paul Stevens remained one of the most difficult justices to interview. Stevens was old school, and tended to avoid public speeches and discussions of his legacy. In 2010, as rumors of his retirement were spreading, I tried every angle to land an appointment. I phoned his office and invoked the fact that we were both Chicago natives who attended the University of Chicago and Northwestern. No dice. We were both die-hard Cubs fans. Nope. I finally resorted to the lowest possible approach. When I saw Stevens at a legal gathering, I told him that I doubted that Babe Ruth really “called the shot” before his famous home run, into the bleachers, off Cubs pitcher Charlie Root in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series. Stevens pounced, describing what he’d seen from the stands as if it were still Oct. 1, 1932, and he was that 12-year-old kid with his dad at Wrigley.

While some claim that the Babe might not have actually been pointing but was just swinging his bat, Stevens insisted that he “was pumping the bat” at his intended destination. I immediately relented, of course, and then asked, “Okay, now how about your retirement?”

I can’t say I got anything earthshaking out of that brief conversation, but my desperate bait-and-switch was not entirely random. Stevens, as I’ve written before, was the “uncalled shot” of the Supreme Court. Entering the court as a conservative appointed by President Gerald Ford, Stevens would finish his tenure as the indisputable leader of the liberal wing. He is an example of how a jurist can find not just his voice but his vision on the court.

While most Americans may not recognize Stevens’s name, he changed this country in fundamental ways with dozens of historic rulings. Those opinions were written in direct and unadorned language. He was also crafty. As the center of the court shifted to the right, Stevens repeatedly found ways to forge majorities or avoid review in critical cases.

Born into a wealthy Chicago family, Stevens was headed for an advanced degree in English before he took a detour into naval intelligence. He joined the Navy the day before Pearl Harbor was bombed and would receive the Bronze Star for his role in a code-breaking operation that led to the downing of the plane carrying the leader of that attack, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto. When he returned to Chicago, he opted for law school and graduated with the highest average in the history of Northwestern University School of Law .

After a clerkship with Justice Wiley B. Rutledge Jr., he turned down an offer to teach at Yale and went into private practice, specializing in antitrust law. He investigated possible corruption in the Illinois court system, a complex enterprise that led to the resignation of two state Supreme Court justices. After Watergate, Ford wanted to appoint someone to the court with impeccable ethics and unimpeachable standing in the legal profession. He chose Stevens, who succeeded the liberal stalwart William O. Douglas.

Stevens left a legacy that transcends those of all but a handful of justices, and his shift from the right to the left of the court is one of the most striking in the institution’s history. He would come to regret some of his earlier votes, such as one reinstating the death penalty (in Gregg v. Georgia, in 1976). In 1978, Stevens wrote a strong dissent against affirmative action in University of California Regents v. Bakke . Yet he would finish on the court as one of the great supporters of the practice, upholding race as a criterion in university admissions in a series of cases. He would also emerge as one of the most consistent and strongest voices supporting abortion rights, gay rights and women’s rights.

His most consequential decision may have been in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (1984). There, Stevens laid out the standard for the review of agency decision-making, an opinion that would create great deference to administrative decisions. Stevens held that, when a statute is ambiguous and an agency acts, the only question courts must resolve is “whether the agency’s answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute” – a standard that largely insulates agency decisions from challenge. Chevron greatly magnified the role of agencies in U.S. governance and remains among the most-discussed court rulings.

His voice on the court became more distinctive and powerful as time went on – and this was particularly true after such towering figures as Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan left the court.

The style as well as the content of Stevens’s opinions evolved: His early decisions tended to be not just more conservative but also shorter and somewhat underdeveloped, in the vein of his appellate decisions. Years ago, Stevens and I flew to Milwaukee to speak at a judicial conference. He mentioned that he probably wouldn’t be able to attend my speech (which was frankly a bit of a relief since I was speaking about the Supreme Court). During the discussion, a judge asked about my proposal to expand the court and whether I would also support term limits for justices or mandatory retirement ages. I answered no, and said I could explain why in three words: John Paul Stevens. I said that Stevens’s early opinions were sometimes incomprehensible or incomplete, while his later opinions were profound and transformative. That is when I spotted Stevens. He later approached me with his signature grin and said, “Incomprehensible?”

The fact is that Stevens came into his own on the court. I disagree with some of his decisions – particularly one supporting sweeping eminent-domain powers ( Kelo v. City of New London , 2005). Yet he always wrote not out of hardened ideology but an innate sense of fairness, equality and inclusion.

He would truly emerge as a leading voice on the jurisprudential left a decade into his tenure. In his dissent to Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), Stevens vehemently disagreed with the upholding of a Georgia statute criminalizing sodomy between consenting adults. It was one of the worst decisions in the history of the high court, and Stevens denounced the analysis. His views would later prevail in the landmark Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which struck down anti-sodomy laws.

Stevens authored one of the most powerful defenses of the First Amendment in Reno v. ACLU (1997), writing the opinion striking down the criminalization of “indecent transmission” of “obscene or indecent” messages under the Communications Decency Act of 1996. The vagueness of the law was clearly incompatible with the guarantees of the First Amendment, and Stevens held that the law “threaten[ed] to torch a large segment of the Internet community.”

Stevens was also a critic of expansive interpretations of the Second Amendment. He wrote a stinging dissent to the decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which recognized, for the first time in U.S. history, an individual right to bear arms. He wrote a comprehensive account of the origins of the amendment and argued: “The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy. Absent compelling evidence that is nowhere to be found in the Court’s opinion, I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.”

Despite sharp disagreements, Stevens rarely used the kind of hyperbolic or dramatic language that characterized the opinions of some of his colleagues. But he was both direct and forceful in his dissent to the decision to stop the recount in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. In Bush v. Gore , Stevens warned that the court had crossed a dangerous line, putting its own legitimacy at risk. He expressed hope that “time will one day heal the wound . . . inflicted by today’s decision,” adding: “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.”

Likewise, Stevens was ardent, in 2010, in dissenting from Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission , which struck down limits on political contributions by corporations as an unconstitutional denial of free speech. “While American democracy is imperfect,” he wrote, “few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.”

Such opinions are like the man himself: impassioned yet direct; honest and unpretentious.

When I received the first call informing me of Stevens’s death, I was watching our Cubs play the Cincinnati Reds. I left the game on as I started to write about his exemplary life and work. The Cubs won in extra innings, with Kyle Schwarber hitting a long ball at Wrigley into the bleachers, the same area where Babe Ruth once made history in front of an awed 12-year-old named John Paul Stevens. Schwarber’s home run was no “called shot.” But some great players, like great justices, just make the play, without the fanfare or the theatrics.

is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University.

33 thoughts on “The Life and Legacy of John Paul Stevens”

  1. The Supreme Court and judicial branch cannot remember what objectivity and the “manifest tenor” are as they follow the polling, acting as the 2nd legislative branch, passing unconstitutional “free stuff” giveaways by the truckload to make themselves “feed good” as they corruptly spend other people’s – free people’s – money.

    If enough people want to murder fetuses, if it polls, they can. If enough people want free healthcare, they can have free healthcare. Immigrants and naturalized foreign parasites are like the proverbial “kid in a candy store” and the Supreme Court gives them everything they want. If fundamental law denies taxation for individual welfare, the communists do it anyway. If fundamental laws says individuals own private property, the communists tell the owners what to do with it; whom to sell to, rent to and how much rent to charge. If the law requires citizens to be “…free white person(s)…” the communist dictatorship of the proletariat just rewrites the law, ad hoc, in this case, the Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795 and 1802.

    Congress cannot tax for “…individual welfare…” or regulate anything other than trade, exchange or “…commerce among the several States,…,” just as Congress cannot dictate any method or form of the disposition of private property.

    The judicial branch has been driving out of its lane since 1861 and its time for reckoning.

  2. “…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
    _________________

    They didn’t.

    They are corrupt.

    They are treasonous.

    They are traitors.
    ______________

    In the U.K., the penalty for high treason was drawing and quartering until 1870. High treason was the most egregious offence an individual could commit. Attempts to undermine the king’s authority were viewed with as much seriousness as if the accused had attacked him personally, which itself would be an assault on his status as sovereign and a direct threat to his right to govern. As this might undermine the state, retribution was considered an absolute necessity and the crime deserving of the ultimate punishment.

    High treason was an attempt to undermine the king’s, the sovereign’s, authority. The American Founders changed the king and sovereign from the dictatorship of the British Monarch to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The sovereign in the United States is the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court and judicial branch have voided, nullified and diminished the authority of the sovereign, the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court and judicial branch have attempted to undermine the sovereign’s authority. The Supreme Court and judicial branch are deserving of the penalty of drawing and quartering or otherwise punitive measures serving the purpose of deterrence.

  3. I heard a short speech by him during law school at a bar meeting that i was lucky enough to get dragged along to by one of my elders. It was a fine speech. He had many cases I disagreed with especially what he said in Heller. Nonetheless, his career was impressive, and his reticence was welcome. A patrician air is not always a bad thing.

    1. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are entirely “for individual rights.”

      The American Founders got rid of the dictator, the monarch, and implemented self-rule.

      Individuals were provided maximal freedom while government was provided maximal limitation and restriction.

      The communists want you to forget that the Founders eliminated the king, the monarch, so that they can impose the yoke of slavery, the new “dictatorship of the proletariat,” the Communist Manifesto; primarily what America is burdened with now: central planning, control of the means of production (i.e. regulation), social engineering and redistribution of wealth.

  4. OT. Proof why we need the 2nd Amendment

    I thought that Mr. Uygur’s comments would have been longer until I was informed that his mother called to him from the kitchen to put away that iPad

    😉

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-should-unify-behind-aoc-not-pelosi-11563738915

    Democrats Should Unify Behind AOC, Not Pelosi

    Voters want impeachment and a progressive policy agenda. House leaders have another idea.

    By Cenk Uygur

    When people say that Democrats should unify, the part they leave out is most important: Around what? Nearly everyone in Washington seems to assume that progressives should shut up, accept their place, and unify around the status quo.

    Think about what an arrogant and preposterous request that is. Progressive leaders, including our representatives in Congress, should abandon all of our policy positions and sell out our voters to please the Democratic establishment. Saying “hell no” to that would be an enormous understatement.

    If Democratic leaders don’t want to fight Donald Trump, that’s their problem, not ours. We signed up to rout him and send him home. If you’re not on board with that, get out of the way and let us do it. Democratic voters were clear in 2018 that they want Mr. Trump impeached. Yet again last week Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her allies blocked an opportunity by tabling Rep. Al Green’s resolution.

    Unlike Mr. Green, I don’t think we need to discuss President Trump’s political or racial ideology to favor impeachment. The president has clearly committed two crimes. Robert Mueller’s report outlines double-digit instances of obstruction of justice. That’s a felony. Michael Cohen confirmed that Mr. Trump worked with him to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels in violation of campaign-finance laws—a crime for which Mr. Cohen is in prison.

    That’s apparently still not enough for Mrs. Pelosi. There is not a single public official doing more to protect Mr. Trump than she is. Even Attorney General William Barr couldn’t stop an impeachment inquiry if he tried. The only person who has the power to seek justice against Mr. Trump steadfastly refuses to pursue him. The only thing Mrs. Pelosi appears to be resisting is holding Mr. Trump accountable.

    Democratic powder to fight Republicans is forever dry. Detention centers without any constraints? Check. Defeating an amendment to prohibit the Pentagon from housing kids at the military facilities? Check. Continuing to let Mr. Trump run roughshod through a House the Democrats control is an abdication of responsibility. Democrats have been surrendering to the GOP for as long as I have been alive. That is part of the reason we formed the Justice Democrats—because we’re sick of the nonstop capitulation. It’s time for strong Democrats. Justice is coming.

    Then Mrs. Pelosi makes the absurd point that we don’t want to waste our time fighting or impeaching Trump because that would take time away from policy. What policy? She calls the Green New Deal, the “green dream or whatever.” She says she has 30-year-old “signs about single payer” in her basement but insists we aren’t ready for it.

    Progressives have been asking for a vote on the minimum wage for six months. Mrs. Pelosi said she’d hold one within the first 100 hours. When she didn’t, the rationale was that some conservative Democrats objected. So what? Let them vote no and it’ll pass easily anyway. We were right. After enormous pressure by progressives, finally the House voted Thursday. Only six Democrats opposed it.

    So Mrs. Pelosi allowed six corporate Democrats to hold up that legislation for six months—but God forbid a progressive Democrat ever objects to leadership. Then we’ll have a national controversy over how insolent young progressive women are.

    The overwhelming majority of Democratic voters want to fight Mr. Trump and pass progressive priorities. If the Democrats unify around anything, it should be around their voters, who clearly prefer the positions of Justice Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If the pundits really believe in unity—as opposed to submission to the establishment—they will support the logical conclusion that the Democratic Party should unify around AOC, not Mrs. Pelosi.

    Mr. Uygur is creator and a co-host of “The Young Turks” and a co-founder of the Justice Democrats

    1. That Cenk is one nutty Turk. He is almost always wrong. Thank goodness he’s continued to offer his bad advice to Democrats.

      1. Well, if his Wiki biography is accurate, it suggests someone without much of a rudder.

  5. It is possible to impose discipline and accountability on gun owners….

    As well as other rights like free speech. You failed to carry your hypothesis to the other 9 amendments in the Bill of Rights.

    Being intellectually honest is key albeit rare today

    1. “Being intellectually honest is key albeit rare today”

      OK, and thanks for clarifying your standards for comment.

      The 1st amendment is not absolute and governments at all levels write laws abridging that right which are then often reviewed by the SC. Only the 2nd amendment is claimed to be absolute by it’s “supporters”, even though it was written with a qualifier regarding a now obsolete institution.

  6. But some great players, like great justices, just make the play, without the fanfare or the theatrics.

    I am not an attorney but it struck me as arrogant and a distraction from the legal profession and especially SCOTUS when he continued to attack, demean, pontificate and write opinions long after retirement. He had no appreciation for demurring and letting his successors shape the law. Putting aside the hubris of SCOTUS Justices thinking a code of judicial ethics does not apply to them, Stevens drew attention to himself and away from the courts with his need to be heard. Humility escaped. When he opined on the Kavanaugh hearings was beyond the pale and begged the question if he were lucid. He undermined Kavanaugh completely

    _______

    “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution,” in 2014.

    Stevens had been particularly outspoken recently on the topic of gun control. In “Six Amendments” he called for changing the Constitution’s Second Amendment to permit gun control. Last year, after marches following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people died, Stevens wrote an essay for The New York Times calling not only for significant gun control legislation but also the Second Amendment’s repeal .

    Also last year he came out against Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation following Kavanaugh’s angry denial of sexual assault allegations.

    https://www.ocala.com/ZZ/news/20190722/stevens-ex-colleagues-took-different-paths-in-retirement

  7. If you’re not a legal professional, the only Justices worth admiring are those whose body of opinions has the following features:

    1. Recognizes that case law is almost always interstitial lawmaking of scant interest to people who are not parties to a case. Elected conciliar bodies are the repository of law-making power, and their discretion is properly disregarded only when there is clear constitutional warrant to do so. A corollary of this is an understanding of the 14th Amendment which recognizes that respect for ‘privileges and immunities’ is a directive to legislatures, ‘due process’ is a directive to courts, and ‘equal protection’ is a directive to the executive.

    2. Recognizes that ‘necssary and proper’ refers to acts which generate instruments to undertake acts which are permitted as expressly delegated powers. And that’s it. Hiring civil servants, renting and purchasing and constructing office space, letting out contracts, approving payments are activities necessary and proper to undertaking other acts. Every organization requires a support staff.

    3. Recognizes that powers not delegated are not delegated. If they’re not on the list, they’re not delegated.

    4. Recognizes that the distinction between ‘inter-state’ and ‘intra-state’ is not factitious. If you’re not transporting people across state lines, not shipping merchandise across state lines, not concluding service contracts with people across state lines, not hosting people who are (presumptively) from out of state, not transferring funds across state lines, not employing people in multiple jurisdictions, and not producing effluvia which can be expected to travel from one state to another, your activity is not ‘inter-state’. Also, of you’ve engaged in one activity across state lines, it doesn’t mean that every transactions you engage in can be treated as if it crossed a state border.

    5. Recognizes that the principle of stare decesis protects the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Federal Reserve, the Social Security Administration, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. And nothing else.

  8. “The Cubs won in extra innings, with Kyle Schwarber hitting a long ball at Wrigley into the bleachers, the same area where Babe Ruth once made history in front of an awed 12-year-old named John Paul Stevens. Schwarber’s home run was no “called shot.” But some great players, like great justices, just make the play, without the fanfare or the theatrics.”
    ***********************

    Seems an appropriate analogy for Stevens’ career. The Babe wasn’t calling his shot; he was arguing with the Cubs bench and pointed toward them as he admitted early on. As the legend grew, showman Ruth went with the flow saying the “called shot” was true because “it’s in the papers, isn’t it?” Stevens’ legacy — like The Babe’s called shot — is a fable. He’s was an elite with elite sensibilities and little use for the common man as Kelo and Heller amply demonstrate. His opinions in some cases were noteworthy but, in the main, they were pedantic and mundane. In short, while he may have been a humble man, he was “a humble man with much to be humble about” as Churchill might say.

  9. Stevens was also a critic of expansive interpretations of the Second Amendment. He wrote a stinging dissent to the decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which recognized, for the first time in U.S. history, an individual right to bear arms. He wrote a comprehensive account of the origins of the amendment and argued: “The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy. Absent compelling evidence that is nowhere to be found in the Court’s opinion, I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.”
    **********************

    Rarely mentioned was Stevens disdain for citizens to protect themselves with their own firearms. This patrician attitude by a man surrounded at all times by armed guards seems sneering, elistist and contemptible. JT may like this guy’s jurisprudence right up to the point when hears tinkling glass on his living room floor at 3:00 am followed by heavy steps trudging up his stairway.

    Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s the “great man” thinking the state can leave you utterly defenseless from it and common thugs hellbent on your property or your destruction: “Specifically, there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.”

    RDG agreed with this misreading of history thus showing senility is a transmittable disease at SCOTUS.

    1. The question is whether 50 should die from unintended gun use (people snapping with rage, drunk out of their gourds, seeking to control a partner, mentally ill) so that 1 can defend his home from a robbery. Self-defense is implicit in the Constitution, but it also gives the government the power to create and nurture a gun safety culture via the preamble phrase “A well regulated militia…”, able to protect citizens from irresponsible, immature, impulsive and mentally-incompetent gun violence.

      It is possible to impose discipline and accountability on gun owners, and to systematically dismantle the black market in firearms, all without taking self-defense rights away from competent adults. The will is building to do this.
      A bureaucratic approach might not be the best solution….I could see using private gun clubs as certified gun safety training and licensing centers. The best knowledge of gun threats is the most local.

    2. For someone from the right, which generally claims loyalty to only original intent, Stephens “disdain for citizens” should not be the issue, but whether he is correct on his history.

      ” The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. It was a response to concerns raised during the ratification of the Constitution that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several States. Neither the text of the Amendment nor the arguments advanced by its proponents evidenced the slightest interest in limiting any legislature’s authority to regulate private civilian uses of firearms. Specifically, there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.”

      The “disdain for citizens” that the current court demonstrated by declaring gerrymandering as OK with the framers and therefore of no concern to them is a more basic affront to a democracy than laws regulating a right qualified by it’s utility to now obsolete militias.

      1. ” The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia.

        As has been pointed out, by Clayton Cramer among others, the use of the term ‘right of the people’ to refer to anything but a personal right would have been eccentric when compared to the usage within the document itself and within period constitutional law.

        What the first clause actually tells you is that personal right they’re referring to pertains to military arms.

        1. If the 2nd amendment was a stand alone document. TIA might have a point. However, it is an amendment to the US Constitution which elsewhere clearly defines who pays for, trains, and commands the “militias”.

          “The Constitution also provides for the “calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions ; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” (U.S. Constitution, art I, § 8, cl 15-16)

          Under Article 2, Section 2, “The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States;…”

          1. If the 2nd amendment was a stand alone document. TIA might have a point. However, it is an amendment to the US Constitution which elsewhere clearly defines who pays for, trains, and commands the “militias”.

            Your point is irrelevant. The Amendment specifically provides for a personal right. So do the other Amendments. The only exception is the 10th Amendment. Franchises to the state governments are provided for with that Amendment. It would be perfectly redundant to enact the 2d Amendment for that purpose, and strange to do that while making use of the locution ‘right of the people’.

      2. The gerrymandering issue started with foolish decision in Baker v Carr. It is done to protect black voting strength which begs the question why isn’t formerly discriminated against Italian or Irish voting strength protected? You now have completely unrelated areas in a Congressional district with no community of interests and all to serve what end?

        1. Try to keep up with current events mespo, It is done to suppress democratic votes and representation as was demonstrated in lower court rulings. The SC didn’t over turn those because they were wrong on the facts but because they declared it none of the courts business as long as it was the GOP – which stole the court’s majority – doing most of it. Protection of old white peoples’ voting strength is the phrase you’re looking for.

          1. It is done to \

            Again, the talking points they handed you at the Correct-the-Record orientation are just that: fraud for public discussion. Has nothing to do with actual history.

            Protection of old white peoples’ voting strength is the phrase you’re looking for.

            I see Peter Shill is using the ‘anonymous’ handle as well.

        2. The problems with the case law on redistricting were delineated for general audiences by Robert Bork a generation ago.

          It’s not difficult to produce a practice manual for the construction of electoral constituencies which incorporates regular and impersonal procedures, distributes discretionary acts to local bodies, and has a general respect for equal representation. However, the case law they contrived (making use of the equal protection clause) precludes that and in effect requires exercises in discretion for the delineation of all districts but also in effect requires crustacean districts to please black politicians.

          At the same time, the injuries to democratic representation by various features of elections administration go unaddressed by every sort of authority.

          Everything the judiciary touches they ruin. They meddle a great deal, but don’t protect us much at all.

          1. Another poster willfully ignorant of what the current gerrymandering cases were and are about. White GOP politicians predominate in the cases lower courts ruled on and which the stolen SC GOP majority protected.

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