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Fellow Justices Say Goodbye to Stevens, Citing His Intellect and Personal Strengths

Posted Apr 9, 2010 5:36 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Following accolades earlier today by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. after Associate Justice John Paul Stevens announced his impending retirement, his other seven colleagues also weighed in with statements of praise for his extraordinary achievements during his 34 years on the bench of the nation's top court.

Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito said Stevens "will surely be remembered as one of the most important Justices to serve on the Court," reports the Blog of Legal Times. Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said Stevens not only followed standards of judicial excellence but set them. And Associate Justice Antonin Scalia: spoke of his authorship of landmark opinions and "brilliant and distinctive insights" when discussing cases with his colleagues.

But it wasn't simply Stevens' intellectual abilities that made an extraordinary impact on his colleagues. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas spoke of him as "a model of kindness and decency" and Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer similarly called him "a model of intelligence, judicial wisdom, decency and common sense." Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg characterized Stevens as "the very best and most collegial of jurists."

And the court's newest member, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, thanked her "new friend," John Paul Stevens, "for his warm welcome and shared wisdom, as well as for his immeasurable contributions to the Court and our country."

His longtime former colleague on the supreme court, Sandra Day O'Connor, spoke of Stevens as a remarkable man "whose mind is as sharp as ever," the BLT reports.

And another retired associate justice, David Souter, provided a statement that perhaps said it all: "Justice Stevens is the gold standard of intellectual integrity and personal decency, and the nation’s debt to him is incalculable," he wrote. " Besides, he’s a friend of mine, which makes me as lucky as anyone can get."

Related coverage:

Blog of Legal Times: "Chief Justice Issues Statement on Stevens"

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