09
Apr
10

Justice Stevens: The End of an Era, for Court and Nation

Justice John Paul Stevens, who announced his resignation from the Supreme Court after 34 years, may be the last justice from a time when ability and independence, rather than perceived ideology, were viewed as the crucial qualifications for a seat on the court. He was nominated in 1975 by President Gerald R. Ford, who said all he wanted was “the finest legal mind I could find.”

Justice Stevens was confirmed 19 days after his nomination. Though Roe v. Wade had been decided two years earlier, he was asked no questions about the decision, which identified a constitutional right to abortion. His confirmation hearings were the last not to be broadcast live on television.

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