Posts From Author: john paul stevens

Six Degrees of Reparation: John Paul Stevens Amends the US Constitution

Constitutional law has always been a game of semantics. So it’s a pleasure to discover that former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’s new book,¬†Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution (Little, Brown, 2014), is so clear in expression and purpose. For many, in these ultra-partisan times, this slight yet impressive book may not tip any balances. But few could find much to criticise in Stevens’s clean, thorough, economical style. Reading¬†Six Amendments is like being taken in hand by the best tour guide in the world as he rehearses arguments for and against, lays out the relevant legal history, and pulls clean the knot of his conclusions. At times his dexterity is almost moving. The book begins with a statement of confidence: confidence “that the soundness of each of my proposals will become more and more evident, and that ultimately each will be adopted.” This is the confidence of a man who recalls Prohibition, the Wall Street Crash, and the Second World War; who has seen now seventeen presidents; and whose ninety-four years make him well over a third of the age of the nation. His sureness will be reassuring to some. But what are his concerns […]
Read More