Skip to comments.Roberts Hits Stevens Over Death Penalty
Posted on 04/26/2007 12:57:35 PM PDT by SmithL
WASHINGTON (AP) -- When Chief Justice John Roberts took his center seat for the first time in October 2005, John Paul Stevens, the court's senior justice, wished him "a long and happy career in our common calling."
This week, Roberts had some words for Stevens, who turned 87 last week. And they were not nearly so kind.
In a pointed dissent from decisions overturning death sentences for two Texas inmates, Roberts accused Stevens of engaging in revisionist history.
Stevens, leading a five-justice majority, said Texas state courts should have set aside the death sentences because the Supreme Court had made clear that such sentences could not stand if they were imposed as a result of flawed jury instructions that Texas used until 1991.
Roberts, a dissenter in six of the court's 10 most recent rulings, wrote that contrary to being clear, Supreme Court death penalty law over the years has been a "dog's breakfast," a mess of "divided, conflicted and ever-changing analyses." State courts would find it difficult, if not impossible, to discern federal law from those rulings, he said.
Roberts concluded his 16-page dissent on a sarcastic note, at odds with his amiable image. "Still, perhaps there is no reason to be unduly glum," Roberts said, taking direct aim at Stevens. "After all, today the author of a dissent issued in 1988 writes two majority opinions concluding that the views established in that dissent actually represented 'clearly established' federal law at that time. So there is hope yet for the views expressed in this dissent."
"Encouraged by the majority's determination that the future can change the past, I respectfully dissent," he concluded.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
“A dog’s breakfast” — now that’s a good one.
I love this guy!
Did we ever here an admission of error from this person concerning CJ Roberts?
It was a foolish article at the time and it’s foolish now.
GWB has been the best President for SCOTUS nominations since before FDR.
Well, 'clearly established' in his own mind anyway.
I understood that a “dog’s breakfast” was “a p!$$ and a good look round” . . . i.e. nothing at all.
Gotta love the incongruous and tendentious juxtaposition between the two men which opens the piece: Stevens is the benign elderly figure who treats the young Chief Justice with kindness and respect, while the impudent Roberts responds with unkind attacks—and the week after the old man’s birthday, no less! ... And Roberts bullies Stevens in the Supreme Court cafeteria and steals the old man’s milk money too.
Fixed it at no charge.
Oh my gosh — that’s even funnier! Way to go, Roberts!
Why cain’t we awl git alonggg???
I agree, a “dogs breakfast” is a good one!!!
I didn’t think Roberts was that hip! He surprises me!!!
His mentor would be proud!!!
Blown up paper bag behind Steven’s chair!!! Pulleeeze!!! That would be damn funny to see though...
You guys are cracking me up today!
That person will never admit to being wrong. That person is the smartest person on the globe (in that person’s own eyes).
I used to like her, but lately I view her as the female Michael Savage- shrill and sensational in an attempt to garner attention.
I think what Roberts is saying, in a sense, is “it’s time for the dog-track, old timer!” The sooner Stevens takes his leave, the better for the court and the country.
is there a way to find a transcript of the actual dissent?
It was a foolish article at the time and its foolish now.
I gotta disagree, amigo. Ann Coulter's article claims nothing about Roberts, except to say that nothing was known about him. It complains about stealth nominations when
1) a fight on the facts and issues would be playing to our strength;
2) we have (or rather, "had," alas) a majority in the Senate.
I believe Roberts is turning out splendidly, but the issue was an important one to raise. Ann more or less single-handedly got Harriet Miers withdrawn, which I think was a good thing. Maybe Pres. Bush was correct to play a stealth card with Roberts, considering how weak the Senate RINOs were, but I thought the column represented an important "bully pulpit" consideration.
Prudence dictates taking a safe or aggressive strategy, depending on circumstances. It may be that if the GOP had been more willing to pick fights on the actual issues over the last 6 years, they'd still have control of Congress. We do have the truth on our side.