U.S. Supreme Court Justice Announces Retirement
U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement following the end of the summer term. Justice Stevens, who is 90 years old, is the leader of the court’s liberal wing. President Obama must now nominate a replacement for Stevens, who will then face confirmation hearings this summer.
For many years, Justice Stevens has been a staunch defender of individual rights, including the rights of those accused of crimes. He has counterbalanced the high court’s increasingly active and vocal conservative wing. The current conservative wing of the court has been hostile to the rights of criminal defendants and has eroded the 4th Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizures.
The criminal defense bar hopes that President Obama will nominate a strong liberal candidate who will stand for the constitutional protections given to those accused of crimes. Otherwise, given the current conservative makeup of the high court, the protections given to individuals accused of crimes, under the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments, could become so eroded that they will become meaningless. That is not right, not fair and not justice. As a wise man once said, “Without fairness, there can be no justice”. Let us hope for justice under the new U.S. Supreme Court.