Book 2 of 52: Five Chiefs by Justice John Paul Stevens

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The second book I read in 2012 was a memoir of sorts by Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired from the Supreme Court in 2010. Stevens genuinely shows how much he loves the institution of the Supreme Court and knows the historical importance of his role on the prestigious body. If you are looking for salacious details of Supreme Court justices or dark secrets of the Court, this is not the books for you. Even with justices he obviously disagreed with, he shows the great courtesy and respect. Th only portion of the book that differs from that is his discussion of the differences between Justice sturgeon Marshall and Clarence Thomas. Stevens shows how little he likes the historical, originality approach used by the current crop of conservative justices. He has noted before that he did not get more liberal, that the court got more conservative. He does not appear to always agree with the current trends in the Court’s decisions, but he also did not appear to like the direction taken by Chief Justice Earl Warren and his court. In both instances, he shows why the different directions taken by the Court matter. In this short book about the Court, he quickly points to particular decisions that exemplify what he believes symbolizes the Chiefs of the last five Courts. He also shows the power of the senior associate justice, a role he played since 1994. As always, this book makes me wish I could be a position just to talk to the justices. Their minds and want to discuss are what drove me to law and the absence of that in law school is what drove me away from the field. Every time I read these books, I get the urge to practice and work in the law. At this point, I doubt that will happen, but it does make me want to read the biography on Louis Brandeis that I bought and look for a biography on Justice Brennan worth reading. And if I cannot, maybe I should be the one to write that biography.

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