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May 22, 2012

A most remarkable American

by dan rodriguez

In Washington DC for the meeting of the American Law Institute (where I was humbled to be elected to the Council yesterday).

Always a great privilege and honor to see our distinguished alumnus, the Honorable John Paul Stevens.  Two times with the great Justice.  First, he gave a remarkably interesting talk to the ALI, focusing on the “lost” legacy of Bush v. Gore, that is, the central equal protection claim that a narrow majority of the Court (sans Stevens, of course) used to justify the result.  He made the intriguing point that, under the Court’s logic in B v. G, that is, that the absence of clear standards justified overturning the Florida court on E/P grounds, then there should be especially close scrutiny of naked partisan gerrymandering.  A provocative argument, one expressed by a true living legend, and captured the rapt attention of a large assemblage of America’s great lawyers, judges, and law professors.  OK, so I am a law nerd . . .  this was quite thrilling indeed.

This morning, a lovely meeting in Chambers with Justice Stevens.  Conversation ranging from his grand time at Northwestern (playing bridge in Levy Mayer basement), playing in the Faculty v. Law Review softball game, commenting about NU alum Stephen Colbert (“a very nice man”) asking after old friends, reflecting on some recent lectures at law schools and, get this, asking me what I thought of the Kelo decision.  What a privilege, what a joy to spend time with this most remarkable lawyer-judge.  Northwestern’s glorious son!!

UPDATE:  Justice Stevens receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom!


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