Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Statement on the Death of Former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Paul Stevens

Jul 17, 2019
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              Contact: Robin K. Chand

July 16, 2019                                                                              202-225-3816

Press Statement

 

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Statement on the Death of Former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Paul Stevens

 

 

Washington, D.C.—Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on the Judiciary, Homeland Security and Budget, released this statement following the death of John Paul Stevens:

 

“I mourn the passing of John Paul Stevens, a former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, whom we lost earlier this evening.  He was 99.

 

“Justice Stevens was a giant of American life, not just of the court he proudly served for 35 years.  A son of Chicago—he was a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs, and a veteran of World War II—he was a code-breaker for the Allies, Justice Stevens led a life of service to the nation we all love.  He began his career as a law clerk to the Supreme Court, served as Associate Counsel to the Subcommittee on the Study of Monopoly Power of the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, after which he would return to private practice.  In 1970, President Richard Nixon appointed Stevens to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and, in 1975, President Gerald Ford nominated then-Judge Stevens to the seat on our nation’s highest court.  He was confirmed unanimously.

 

“During his time on the Supreme Court, Justice Stevens completed an evolution for which the nation owes a debt of gratitude.  Though appointed by a Republican president, Justice Stevens eventually came to serve as a liberal lion.  He recognized the dangerous and increasingly conservative tilt of our nation and the Court, and acted as a bulwark against this philosophy—first against the excesses of the Reagan administration, which were exacerbated by the first Bush administration and crystallized by thesecond Bush Administration. 

 

“Justice Stevens also recognized the importance of the role of the court as an independent arbiter, an observation encapsulated by his dissent in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court decision that ostensibly awarded the 2000 election to then-Governor George W. Bush.  He wrote in dissent: "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear.  It is the nation's confidence in the judge as the impartial guardian of the rule of law."  When the toxicity of unregulated money was creeping ever closer to our system of electoral politics, Justice Stevens rang the alarm as loud as he could.  Unfortunately, for him and our nation, Justice Stevens was in dissent in Citizens United v. FEC.  Though he did not prevail on that day, his prophecy about the deleterious effect money has on politics is vindicated daily, and is one which we should consider closely as we daily consider ways to make ours a more perfect union.


 

“Though he resigned from the Court in 2010, Justice Stevens did not shy away from public life.  He could be seen, from time to time, at Wrigley Field, cheering for his Cubs, or in classrooms giving guest lectures.  Fortunately, for our nation, Justice Stevens did not cease his commentaries on the rule of law in our nation, and the role of courts within our nation.  He wrote, suggesting new constitutional amendments for our country’s consideration, or about amendments that had grown obsolete or otherwise required reconsideration.  He also wrote two memoirs—one detailing his remarkable life, and one chronicling the lives of five men who led the Court.  Through it all, Justice Stevens never lost his kindness, intellect and commitment to our nation. My deepest heartfelt sympathies go out to all who survive him and all who mourn this giant of American life.”

 

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Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security.