A "timely and hugely important" account of his life on the Supreme Court (New York Times)
When Justice John Paul Stevens retired from the Supreme Court of the United States in 2010, he left a legacy of service unequaled in the history of the Court. During his thirty-four-year tenure, Justice Stevens was a prolific writer, authoring more than 1000 opinions. In THE MAKING OF A JUSTICE, John Paul Stevens recounts his extraordinary life, offering an intimate and illuminating account of his service on the nation's highest court.
Appointed by President Gerald Ford and eventually retiring during President Obama's first term, Justice Stevens has been witness to, and an integral part of, landmark changes in American society.
With stories of growing up in Chicago, his work as a naval traffic analyst at Pearl Harbor during World War II, and his early days in private practice, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most important Supreme Court decisions over the last four decades, THE MAKING OF A JUSTICE offers a warm and fascinating account of Justice Stevens' unique and transformative American life.This comprehensive memoir is a must read for those trying to better understand our country.
In this dense autobiography focused, except for a few brief opening chapters, on professional matters, former Supreme Court Justice Stevens revisits his 35-year tenure on the court, 1975 2010. This period saw significant shifts in the Court's constitutional jurisprudence on gender and race discrimination, LGBTQ issues, the death penalty, campaign finance, the regulation of firearms, and affirmative action. While Stevens eschews a gossipy take on Court personalities, he is more than happy to take the gloves off when criticizing the opinions of other justices he calls a 1985 William Rehnquist decision, on the police brutality case Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, "one of the worst opinions" decided during his term on the court and instances in which he believes the Court has taken radically wrong turns, among them the rulings that hold the Second Amendment essentially prohibits gun regulation; the Court's bar on state regulation of campaign finance; Bush v. Gore, which stopped the Florida vote recount in the 2000 presidential election; and a decision holding that there is no compelling state interest in maintaining racial diversity in public schools. Stevens explicates a dizzying number of decisions and often delves deeply into recondite areas of constitutional law. Dedicated court followers will find this rewarding, but readers without a legal background, and even some who with, will find this difficult to navigate.