Stevens Is Back! And This Time He’s Going After Calabresi

September 20th, 2014

I recently commented that Justice Stevens has been really, really quiet of late. By my count, he hasn’t made any public statements since his book came out in April. I hesitated to blog something, as I worried that perhaps he wasn’t able to speak. Rest assured, he is doing quite well, and has pinned a bullseye on Northwestern Law Professor Steve Calabresi. In remarks at an awards luncheon named after him in Chicago, the Justice took the occasion to respond to Steve’s WSJ review of his book.

Returning to Chicago to attend the luncheon at which fine lawyers are recognized for their outstanding contributions to the administration of justice is always an especially enjoyable occasion. I am happy to be able to extend my congratulations to each of the recipients who has been honored here today. I plan to respond to your warm welcome by making a few remarks about my book proposing six amendments to our Constitution. Specifically, I shall comment on the book review published in the Wall Street Journal in July that was authored by Steven Calabresi, a well- respected member of the faculty of my favorite Law School.

Why, is a Supreme Court Justice using public speeches to respond to an editorial by a law professor? I don’t know. Having the last word is apparently important enough for the Justice–after all, his entire book on 6 Amendments was a veiled effort at getting the last word in cases he dissented in.

You can read the speech. It is really a point-counterpoint. Calabresi said this, so here’s why he’s wrong.

Knowing Calabresi as I do, I suspect the Justice will have the last word.

In remarks given last week to the D.C. Bar, Justice Stevens also weighed in on campaign finance reform.

In my talk today I shall describe four cases resolving issues related to the constitutionality of rules regulating the financing of political campaigns, and then make some comments about Judge Leventhal’s writing about campaign finance.

Stevens reiterates his point that you should only be allowed to contribute to an election you can vote in.

The omission of any discussion of that threshold issue in any of the opinions in the McCutcheon case – like the Chief Justice’s language stressing the importance of participating in the choice of “our political leaders” – surely should have prompted an “Oops11 before the opinions were announced.

Essentially, he asks the Justices to rethink their decision in McCutcheon. I’m sure they’re really eager to hear what he has to say.┬áThis speech didn’t even make a single press report.