Thursday, August 25, 2005

Justice Weighs Desire v. Duty (Duty Prevails) - New York Times

Justice Stevens calling decsions he voted for unwise.

But the blame lies with congress, he says ,, as they write the dumb laws. { I am paraphasing him there .]

In the annals of Supreme Court History , this is a major speech -- that is sure to be cited often in Law Schools & civil liberties
classes . ~
~` TP

August 25, 2005
"Justice Weighs Desire v. Duty (Duty Prevails)"

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 - It is not every day that a Supreme Court justice calls his own decisions unwise. But with unusual candor, Justice John Paul Stevens did that last week in a speech in which he explored the gap that sometimes lies between a judge's desire and duty.

Addressing a bar association meeting in Las Vegas, Justice Stevens dissected several of the recent term's decisions, including his own majority opinions in two of the term's most prominent cases. The outcomes were 'unwise,' he said, but 'in each I was convinced that the law compelled a result that I would have opposed if I were a legislator.'

In one, the eminent domain case that became the term's most controversial decision, he said that his majority opinion that upheld the government's 'taking' of private homes for a commercial development in New London, Conn., brought about a result 'entirely divorced from my judgment concerning the wisdom of the program' that was under constitutional attack.

His own view, Justice Stevens told the Clark County Bar Association, was that 'the free play of market forces is more likely to produce acceptable results in the long run than the best-intentioned plans of public officials.' But he sa"