Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is old. That's not meant as an insult, it's just a fact -- a fact that makes his current pace all the more impressive. Here are a few fun facts about the retired justice:
- He actually witnessed Babe Ruth's infamous called shot;
- He grew up in Chicago during the Prohibition;
- He was the third-longest serving Supreme Court justice and the second-oldest at the time of retirement.
Most people would take it easy, especially if they worked through their late eighties, but Justice Stevens, nearly four years later, and barely a week past his 94th birthday, is still ever present in the headlines. Kudos, for he's accomplished more in the last four years than most of us will in a lifetime.
Barely a year after his retirement, Justice Stevens published his memoirs, Five Chiefs, where he discussed the inner workings of the Court, as well as his experiences with five Supreme Court Chief Justices, three while on the Court, one as a clerk, and one as an attorney. The book also provided an inside look at at a number of landmark cases that were decided during his more than thirty years on the bench.
Last week, two days after Stevens turned 94, his vision for "fixing" the Constitution arrived: Six Amendments. In the book, which we've discussed a bit, he proposes six amendments that he argues would fix much of what ills this great nation.
Campaign Finance With Congress
On Wednesday, Justice Stevens' active schedule included a stop on Capital Hill, where he spoke to a Senate panel on campaign finance reform. His speech emphasized that finance restrictions are not a partisan matter and urged Congress to find a way to rein in the billions of dollars that are shaping elections, reports The Associated Press. SCOTUSblog as a full recap of Justice Stevens' prepared remarks.
The speech comes as no surprise -- one of his proposed amendments deals with campaign finance, after all. But some are arguing that Six Amendments and his speech violate ethics rules, as he is still an Article III judge because he retired only four years ago. (He's still eligible for moonlighting opportunities on Circuit Court benches, something his contemporary, retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has done repeatedly.
Eugene Volokh discusses the controversy for the Washington Post, but the argument for an ethics violation seems tenuous at best.
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