This Chicago Criminal lawyer believes it is important to highlight the significance of the United States Supreme Court. Today, Chicago’s own, Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement from the Court.
I think I will always remember where I was when I heard the news. I was at the bench addressing the circuit court on one of my cases when the judge looked at his phone and said “Yep, he’s just announced his retirement”. I knew instantly what he meant and replied by saying “I anticipate the confirmation hearings will be exciting this summer.”
It seems like just yesterday I was a little girl learning about the U.S. Supreme Court in school. Back then, Justice Stevens wasn’t the powerhouse that Thurgood Marshall was or Henry Blackmun. No he operated like a typical Midwesterner, he rolled up his sleeves said his piece and stayed out of the limelight.
As a lawyer I can see how Justice Stevens kept his Midwestern characteristics during his entire tenure on the bench. As he became the senior justice he seemed to hold fewer punches and politely, yet, forcefully, expressed his opinion.
He has championed the rights of the individual over the rights of government consistently including Atkins v. Virginia; Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Arizona v. Gant; and Ctizens United v. F.E.C. His voice and reason will be missed on the Court.