Judge Stevens Decries Court's Corporate Turn

89-year-old gives impassioned opinion but sounds weary

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 22, 2010 7:40 AM CST

(Newser) – Justice John Paul Stevens railed against the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning decades of campaign finance reform, invoking the names of such revered justices as Sandra Day O’Connor, Thurgood Marshall, and Byron White. In giving the minority opinion yesterday, Stevens spoke for 20 minutes, twice as long as Anthony Kennedy did for the majority, and spoke with considerably "more passion—and more weariness," writes Joan Biskupic at USA Today.

“The court's blinkered and aphoristic approach to the First Amendment may well promote corporate power at the cost of the individual and collective self-expression,” Stevens wrote in his 90-page opinion. His halting speech also reinforced the idea that the 89-year-old would retire soon. Stevens won’t confirm that, but he hasn’t hired a full staff for next term. When asked about it recently, he replied, “That can’t be news. I’m not exactly a kid.”

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens sits for a new group photograph, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009, at the Supreme Court in Washington.
Associate Justice John Paul Stevens sits for a new group photograph, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009, at the Supreme Court in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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