John Paul Stevens: Defender of Rights in Criminal Justice – eBook PDF
John Paul Stevens: Defender of Rights in Criminal Justice, (PDF) explores the judicial opinions and criminal justice policy influence of Justice John Paul Stevens, the U.S. Supreme Court’s most productive opinion author in his 35-year career on the nation’s highest court. Though Justice Stevens, a Republican appointee of President Gerald Ford, had a professional status as a corporate antitrust law attorney, he immediately declared himself as the Court’s primary advocate of Miranda rights and prisoners’ rights when he arrived at the Court in 1975.
In studying Justice Stevens’s opinions on these topics in addition to others, including capital punishment and right to counsel, the chapters of the ebook connect his earlier experiences with the development of his views on rights in criminal justice. In particular, the ebook examines his relevant experiences as a law clerk to Justice Wiley Rutledge in the Supreme Court’s 1947 term, a judge on the U.S. court of appeals and a volunteer attorney handling criminal cases in Illinois to discover how these experiences shaped his understanding of the significance of rights in criminal justice. For several issues, such as those affecting imprisoned offenders, Justice Stevens was a strong defender of rights during his career. For other issues, like capital punishment, there is evidence that he became more and more protective of rights over the course of his Supreme Court career. The text also examines how Justice Stevens became increasingly important as a leading dissenter against the reduction of rights in criminal justice as the Supreme Court’s composition became increasingly conservative in the 1980s and afterward. Because of the nature and difficulty of Justice Stevens’s numerous and varied opinions over the course of his lengthy career, scholars find it hard to characterize his judicial philosophy and influence with simple labels. Yet in the area of criminal justice, close examination of his work shows that he earned a reputation and an enduring legacy as a remarkably important defender of constitutional rights.
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