In any discussion about United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, you're likely to hear him labeled in a variety of ways--as a brilliant “judge's judge,” the highly successful leader of the Court's more liberal wing, the prolific “maverick,” and a shrewd questioner from the bench. You might also hear him described simply as a polite and humble Midwesterner, bow-tie aficionado and diehard Cubs fan. Yet while Justice Stevens is and was all of these things, there is another important title he richly deserves yet often does not receive--Justice Stevens, the excellent writer.
This essay strives to close that gap and celebrate the unsung writing talents of Justice Stevens. This is by no means meant to be a serious linguistic study of his writings, nor is it an exhaustive overview. My goal, rather, is simply to highlight his skills as a wordsmith with some of the most memorable examples. What follows is a collection of snippets of Justice Stevens's writing drawn from my own reservoir of personal favorites and an informal survey of other former Stevens clerks.
Sonja R. West,
Justice Stevens, the Writer
, 94 Wash. U. L Rev. 1417
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/fac_artchop/1162