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Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Making of a Justice

I read Justice Stevens' memoir with interest. There are many pleasing anecdotes, and the book gives the first detailed account from a Justice about what occurred behind the scenes in landmark cases such as Bush v. Gore and Heller. The fact that he can write any book at 99 years of age is amazing.

That said, Justice Stevens either had no editor or a bad one. There are more than the expected number of errors in the book. For example, at one point he says: "My fourth term on the Court began a month before Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1978 presidential election." This sentence contains two mistakes that an editor should have corrected. Justice Stevens also says that George W. Bush's second inauguration occurred in 2004, which is another unfortunate typo. The book is also too long and becomes something of a death march through the Justice's opinions. Best to just skim. 

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on May 16, 2019 at 09:34 PM | Permalink


Stevens was sworn into office in December 1975. His memory seems shaky, unless the 1976 election is simply not important or relevant to this particular one. Perhaps he was referring to his first full term that started in October 1976, rather than his fourth term? I suppose it is true that his fourth term started in October 1978, but obviously that was not an election year.

Posted by: TJM | May 17, 2019 12:50:27 PM

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