Home / US / John Paul Stevens, longtime chairman of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, dies at the age of 99

John Paul Stevens, longtime chairman of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, dies at the age of 99



John Paul Stevens, a moderate Midwestern Republican and former Chicago antitrust lawyer who developed into a savvy politician and sometimes a passionate leader of the Liberal wing of the Supreme Court, became the third-longest judge on the colonel Court before retiring in 2010, died on July 16 at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 99.

The Cause Following an announcement by the Supreme Court, there were complications from a stroke he suffered yesterday. The only longer-serving judges were William O. Douglas, who was replaced by Justice Stevens in 1975, and Stephen J. Field, a candidate of President Abraham Lincoln, who served most of the late 19th century.

During his 35-year tenure, Justice Stevens has left his mark on virtually all areas of law and commented on important government, death, criminal, intellectual property and civil liberties cases.

Justice Stevens also spoke for the court when it came to holding the presidents accountable under the law, writing the 1997 ruling that President Bill Clinton had to face the sexual harassment of Paula Jones, and the 2006 statement which prevented President George W. Bush from holding military trials for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base without the consent of Congress.

But it was in his often divergent opinions that Stevens advocated a view of the law that was increasingly – but not automatically – liberal as the years passed and the court itself shifted to the right.

As a strong supporter of federal power, Justice Stevens sharply criticized the restrictions imposed by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and his conservative colleagues on Congress to define violations of federal violence and eliminate law from states.

In Gore in the 2000 election campaign, which helped George W. Bush to victory Englisch: www.moviesfilmonline.com / en / movies / oliver – twist. Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 120 & lang = DE Judge Stevens complained differently that the five Republican judges, Bush The plea of ​​US citizen Jose Padilla, who was detained as an enemy fighter, threw Stevens the majority for ducking issues "of profound importance".

"If this nation is to remain faithful to the ideals." Because of his flag, he can not even use the tools of tyrants to resist an attack by tyranny, "he wrote.

Judge Stevens' reference to the flag dates back to the dissent of 1989, in which the veteran of the decorated navy of World War II, along with Rehnquist and other conservatives, objected to a ruling that had an initial right to burn the American Flag recognized.

"The ideas of freedom and equality were an irresistible force to motivate leaders such as Patrick Henry, Susan B. Anthony and Abraham Lincoln, schoolteachers like Nathan Hale and Booker T. Washington, the Filipino Boy Scouts who fought in Bataan, and the soldiers who climbed the bluff at Omaha Beach, "Justice Stevens wrote in this case. "If it pays to fight for these ideas – and our history shows that this is the case – it can not be true that the flag, which symbolizes its power in a unique way, does not deserve protection from unnecessary profanation. "

A privileged, then turbulent childhood [19659016] John Paul Stevens was born on April 20, 1920, the youngest of four sons in Chicago. The family lived in Hyde Park near the University of Chicago. His mother was an English teacher in high school. His grandfather, James W. Stevens, was the founder of Illinois Life Insurance Co. and owned the LaSalle Hotel, which was managed by Justice Stevens' father Ernest.

In 1927, the family opened the Stevens Hotel in Chicago as the largest hotel in the world at the time. Justice Stevens had a privileged childhood: he attended private schools at the University of Chicago, met celebrities such as pilots Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart at the hotel and was fortunate enough to be in the crowd of Wrigley Field on October 1, 1932

But the Stevens 'stores went bankrupt in the Depression and Justice Stevens' father, his grandfather and uncle Raymond Stevens were charged with misconduct due to alleged financial problems.

Shortly after the indictment, his grandfather James suffered a stroke and was excused from the lawsuit; Raymond committed suicide. A jury in Chicago convicted Ernest in 1933 for embezzling $ 1.3 million. But his conviction was overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court in October 1934, who sharply criticized the indictment charge, stating that "there is no scintilla of evidence of attempted concealment or fraud."

The Tragic Experience Reduced The formerly wealthy Stevens family returned to a bourgeois lifestyle and taught Justice Stevens a lasting lesson in the harm that even affluent citizens can suffer from over-zealous prosecution and other shortcomings in the judiciary.

Justice Stevens graduated from Chicago University in 1941 with a bachelor's degree in English and began a master's degree in the same subject when a dean persuaded him to study naval intelligence instead.

Justice Stevens joined the Navy in December as an intelligence officer. 6, 1941 – the day before Pearl Harbor. He would later joke that his mission had provoked the Japanese to attack because they regarded him as a sign of American desperation.

He spent World War II at Pearl Harbor and worked as a signal intelligence officer. His specialty was "traffic analysis," the compilation of Japanese news, to identify patterns of communication that could help identify or locate enemy forces. Justice Stevens received the Bronze Star for his work in deciphering a particularly difficult Japanese call sign.

Justice Stevens was in action on the day the US Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto landed the plane, a strategic coup that became possible in part

The targeted killing of Yamamoto disturbed Justice Stevens, who in 2005 interviewed Law professor Diane Marie Amann stated that it sparked his first doubts about the death penalty he held for another form of willful killing by the state of a named person.

After the war, Justice Stevens attended the Law School of Northwestern University at the GI Bill and graduated in 1947. He received top marks, and Prof. W. Willard Wirtz described him as "undoubtedly the most admired and at the same time most popular man in the school."

At the urging of Wirtz, Supreme Court Justice Wiley B. Rutledge, a liberal representative of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, hired Justice Stevens as court clerk for the 1947-48 trial.

Justice Stevens deeply admired Rutledge, whose most famous dissenting opinion came in 1946 when he received the majority of the court. Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita, who was sentenced to death by a US military commission in the Philippines for atrocities committed by his troops Wrongly denied a petition for habeas corpus.

Stevens helped Rutledge write another dissent in Ahrens v. Clark on the grounds that the court had wrongfully expelled Paul Ahrens – and 119 other Germans living in the US, for alleged National Socialist relationships were denied – the right to make an application for h abeas corpus.

Rutledge's papers in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division contain a memo from Justice Stevens in which he asks his boss to support a "fair hearing" of the alleged hostile Germans in court. "Otherwise," Justice Stevens wrote, "the Attorney General would have unlimited authority over foreigners and citizens to rely on the finding that the party was an enemy alien."

After his legal clerkship, Justice Stevens practiced law in Chicago. Development of a specialty in antitrust law. In the 1950s, he took a year off to serve as an assistant to a congressional antitrust subcommittee on professional baseball, and spent two years working as an assistant to the Eisenhower government's Department of Justice.

First marriage to Elizabeth Sheeren When he had four children, he divorced. In 1979 he married Maryan Simon.

A son of his first marriage, John Joseph Stevens, was a Vietnam war veteran and died of cancer in 1996 at age 47. Later, Justice Stevens ruled against the decision in a case with war veterans & # 39; contact with Agent Orange, a herbicide related to cancer and other diseases.

A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.

In 1969, Justice Stevens was selected as a special commission attorney investigating bribery charges against two judges of the Illinois Supreme Court. His investigation eventually led to the resignation of the judges and drove Justice Stevens to national fame.

On the recommendation of US Senator Charles H. Percy of Illinois, the moderate Republican Richard M. Nixon appointed Justice Stevens as Chicago President.

Five years later, Justice Stevens, also with the support of Percy and another Chicago friend, then Attorney General Edward Levi, received the nomination of President Gerald R. Ford to replace the retired Associate Justice William O. Douglas at the Supreme Court , He was confirmed by the Senate with 98-0 and took on 19 December 1975 the oath of office.

"May I ask you this?"

Justice Stevens quickly became known as an unpredictable thinker who demonstrated his independence. Have his lawyers examine all petitions for judicial review separately rather than at the central "pool" consisting of lawyers from the other eight judges.

In frequent coinciding and dissenting opinions, Justice Stevens explained the differences in the differences between his views and those of his peers, prompting a fellow justice, Potter Stewart, to quote Justice Stevens as "John Paul Jones should have been called – I have not yet begun to write. "

Justice Stevens was also considered one of the most polite judges in oral arguments, who usually initiated his questions with the question of a lawyer:" May I ask you this? "

these days. In 1976, for example, he cast a fifth vote to allow states to re-approve the death penalty just four years after they were invalidated by the court. Later, he voted to put down strict plans for positive action on university admissions and government contracts.

Justice, Stevens, did not do so as the country, the court and the GOP moved to the right. He started to take a more positive view of the positive measures and fought to limit the scope of the death penalty.

In 2002, Judge Stevens wrote the majority opinion in a 6/3 ruling prohibiting the death penalty for the mentally handicapped

After years of condemning the death penalty for offenders under the age of 18, which the court upheld in 1989 Justice Stevens in 2005, a fifth vote for his side.

As the highest majority judge, he appointed majority opinion on swing voter Anthony M. Kennedy, a moderate conservative who had previously advocated the death penalty for youth. In a concurring statement, Justice Stevens Kennedy defended against a crushing appeal by Justice Antonin G. Scalia.

Justice Stevens wrote in 2004 in a case in which the court upheld the Bush administration's view that prisoners were by a majority of 6 to 3. In Guantanamo Bay, there should be no opportunity to denounce their detention before a federal court.

All these cases showed that Justice Stevens had evolved from his earlier iconoclasm to a veteran who well understood the internal dynamics of the court, which the liberals needed. Attun at least one of the court's centrists, often Kennedy or Sandra Day O & # 39; Connor, to to form a majority.

Justice Stevens also introduced a new law in areas that were less noticed by the public, but no less important for their importance were of a technical nature.

In 1984, for example, Justice Stevens wrote the court's opinion in what became known as the Sony Betamax case, which paved the way

At the time, producers of television programs and films attempted to sue Sony for alleged product piracy But Justice Stevens wrote that Sony was not liable for these customer actions because its VCR had many other, undoubtedly legitimate uses.

"You can search the copyright law in vain for clues that have made the elected representatives of the millions of people who watch TV every day illegal to copy a program for later viewing at home, or a blanket ban on the sale of machinery he wrote.

In the same year, Justice Stevens raised the principle that where federal law itself If the courts are silent on some point or are ambiguous, they should invoke the reasonable interpretations of the law by the federal authorities.

The case was Chevron v. The Defense Council for Natural Resources and since Justice Stevens's statement, the authorities have relied on "Chevron Deference" to protect their regulations from attack.

In 2000, Justice Stevens wrote the opinion of the Tribunal in Apprendi v New Jersey deciding that judges could no longer increase the sentences of convicted defendants on the basis of additional facts raised by the Prosecutor's Office, but were not explicitly stated by the jury. Apprendi triggered a revolution in criminal law, which continues today.

And Justice Stevens was the author of the possibly least popular decision of the court in recent years, a decision of 5 to 4 in 2005, in which he ordered the right of confirmed local governments to induce real estate owners to sell to private developers.

Although conservatives rejected the decision, Justice Stevens defended it as an exercise of restraint of justice, a conservative legal principle. He argued that the outcome was determined by precedents and by the respect for the decisions of legislators who could, if desired, limit such convictions.

In 2012, President Barack Obama elected Attorney General Elena Kagan to succeed Justice Stevens, after his retirement in June 2010, awarded Justice Stevens the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian award.

Perhaps, on his final day on the bench, a more personal tribute occurred when lawyers and spectators throughout the US Supreme Court chamber carried bow tie in his honor.

Retired, Judge Stevens started an active and sometimes controversial second career as a writer and commentator. It fully endorsed and disputed the decisions of the court, including the most recent ones. He published a memoir of five former Chief Justice he had known and a second book recommending six constitutional amendments.

Judge Stevens' list of proposed constitutional amendments contained several that would have translated his dissenting opinions into the nation's constitution. including support for eligibility rules and a proposed ban on the death penalty.

"I think there is one voice I would change and one – I have met the death penalty law," he told National Public Radio in 2010. "I think we did not foresee it like that I think that was a wrong decision. "


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