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U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Stevens Decided to Retire After Stumbling During Citizens United Dissent

Posted Apr 29, 2011 8:06 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Justice John Paul Stevens decided to retire on Jan. 21, 2010, the day he read aloud his dissent in the Citizens United case and stumbled in his delivery.

In an interview with the Atlantic, Stevens, now 91, said doctors found no problem, despite a faltering presentation. Nonetheless, "that was the day I decided to resign," he told the publication. "I learned giving that talk that I had a speech problem."

Stevens revealed he is writing a book about the five chief justices he has worked with over the years, as a law clerk, a lawyer, a federal appeals judge and a justice. The possible title is The Five Chiefs.

Stevens also commented on oral arguments. “I do think that an unfair amount of time is devoted to questioning that is not seeking answers but is trying to make arguments to influence one's colleagues,” he said. “And I think the arguments have moved in a direction of the justices playing the role of advocate more than they should.”

The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog noted the article.

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