John Paul Stevens Left “Profound” Legacy Challenging Death Penalty, Gun Laws & Executive Power

Democracy Now!
July 31, 2019

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died last week at age 99, almost a decade after retiring from the high court. Stevens was nominated in 1975 by Republican President Gerald Ford, but he came to lead the liberal wing of the court for decades and authored key decisions on cases around presidential powers, national security and campaign financing, among other issues. Stevens said at the end of his tenure on the court that his one regret was a 1976 vote upholding a Texas capital punishment statute that revived the death penalty. Stevens later opposed most death penalty sentences. He retired from the court in 2010 as the second-longest-standing justice. We speak with Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, about Stevens’s life and legacy.

“He embodied these virtues of compassion, humility and wisdom, which stands in such an obvious contrast to the narcissism and bullying and lies in the White House,” Azmy says of the late justice.

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July 31, 2019