Noah Bierman of the Boston Globe interviewed me about Justice Stevens’s recent testimony. I’m glad he made the point that has elided nearly all other popular media accounts–Justice Stevens hasn’t actually retired:
But some observers say Stevens has overstepped his retiree role. Josh Blackman, an assistant professor at the South Texas College of Law who has written a book about the court, said Stevens still technically holds “senior status” on the court, meaning he has an office, a staff, and a salary of more than $200,000 from the very court he is criticizing. Unlike other justices who hold senior status, Stevens has chosen not to hear cases.
I also offer my thoughts on why JPS is doing why he’s doing:
“I think there’s almost a sense of bitterness that after 30 years on the court, his legacy was not as strong as it could be because his dissents were just that: dissents,” Blackman said.
I felt a strong sense of sadness and disappointment during his interview on This Week, when he said, “I did the best I could. I didn’t do well enough on many occasions.” For the last two decades of his career, Stevens was in dissent on many of the most pressing issues of the day. And, the purpose of his book is to try to perpetuate his dissents, with hope that one day they will become majority opinions.
I’m toying with titling my next column, “Forget Justice Ginsburg. Justice Stevens should retire!” Or maybe, “The Shadow Justice.”