Monday, November 29, 2010

Highlights: Stevens on 60 Minutes ("He Knows How to Throw a Punch")

A few highlights from Sunday's 60 Minutes piece on retired Justice John Paul Stevens (linked here):

1-Retired Justice David Souter, in a cameo appearance, said, "John Stevens plays by the rules, but he knows how to throw a punch." And with respect to Stevens standing up for detainee rights: "That's what you've got courts for. He was earning his salary. . . . That made him one of the great judges."

2-When asked if he thought the Citizens United majority "legislated from the bench," Justice Stevens responded, "Yes."

3-However, he declined to impute political motives to the Bush v. Gore majority, stating instead that it was "unwise" and "profoundly wrong."

4-Justice Stevens, at age 12, and his family were robbed at gunpoint in their home. The robbers had threatened to shoot the family, but fled when a neighbor came to the front door unexpectedly.

Stevens' father, who had been very wealthy, but lost his fortune in the Depression, was convicted of embezzlement. The Illinois Supreme Court later reversed the conviction for lack of evidence. Stevens said that this experience "may well have" shaped his view of the system, i.e., that it sometimes convicts innocent people.

5-Debated legend has it that in a 1932 World Series game at Chicago's Wrigley Field, Babe Ruth pointed to center field and then hit a home run there. Stevens was at that game and says it is no legend. It happened.

Also check out the "Web Extras" (Stevens on Gay Marriage and the Death Penalty).