Foreword: The Legacy of Justice John Paul Stevens
Dunbar, Lindsay S., Meixner, John B., Northwestern University Law Review
When Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement in April of 2010, the editors of the Northwestern University Law Review had already begun planning a long-overdue celebration of his life and work. Nearly sixty-five years after Justice Stevens's graduation from Northwestern University School of Law, on May 12, 2011, the Law Review and the Law School had the privilege of welcoming him back to his old classroom in Lincoln Hall for a day of reflection on his distinguished career.
Over the course of four academic panels and a luncheon tribute panel, a distinguished group of legal scholars, journalists, and Justice Stevens's former clerks explored the Justice's legacy not only on the Court, but also on the legal profession. Panelists commented on Justice Stevens's executive power jurisprudence, his interpretation of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment,1 his trajectory on the Court, and finally his interpretive methods. This issue contains the scholarly work that resulted from this day of discussion and celebration. Additionally, the Justice gave the address at Northwestern University School of Law's 2011 graduation ceremony, and he has been kind enough to share those remarks with us in the issue. The variety of the issue's contents is a testament to the immense impact that Justice Stevens had on many areas of the law and, of course, on many lawyers, journalists, and scholars.
Some of Justice Stevens's former clerks recalled this incredible human touch. During their panel, they shared an inside look at their time in Justice Stevens's chambers. Though clerks from the early years of Justice Stevens's tenure shared the dais with clerks from his final years on the Court, they all remembered the time and attention the Justice provided to the young lawyers who worked for him. In their pieces, they pay tribute to Justice Stevens as a mentor.
The pieces arising from the panel regarding Justice Stevens's executive power jurisprudence cover a wide range of some of the Justice's most momentous opinions, most notably his landmark decision in Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. NRDC.2 Professor Thomas Merrill frames the opinion in terms of Justice Stevens's orientation as a common law judge, arguing that the Justice did not intend to endorse the principle for which Chevron is now thought to stand. Professor Aziz Huq ties Chevron, among other opinions, to the "institution matching" canon, showing how institution matching persists in a variety of executive powers decisions. Professor Dawn Johnsen examines the Justice's role in executive detention cases following September 11, 2001, such as Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, in which Justice Stevens joined a dissent authored by Justice Antonin Scalia,3 as well as Rasul v. Bush,4 Hamdan v. Rumsfeld,5 and Boumediene v. Bush.6 Finally, Professor Steven G. Calabresi discusses Justice Stevens's role in separation of powers decisions, examining the doctrine through a historical lens.
The panel on Justice Stevens's role in religion cases yielded pieces focusing on the Justice's principled approach to the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. Professor Andrew Koppelman argues that although Justice Stevens is sometimes viewed as having been hostile toward religion, he actually enthusiastically supported religion through jurisprudence that encouraged religious neutrality. In a similar vein, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky's piece argues in support of the Justice's "strict separationist" approach to church-state issues. Finally, Professor Alan Brownstein reconciles Justice Stevens's differing views of the expansiveness of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses by framing both in terms of the Justice's concerns about religious equality.
A diverse collection of papers resulted from the panel that examined Justice Stevens's trajectory on the Court. Professor Stefanie A. Lindquist's empirical study of Justice Stevens's voting on the Seventh Circuit serves as a prequel to his tenure on the Supreme Court and asserts that then-Judge Stevens's frequent dissents and independent voting patterns formed the foundation of his later jurisprudence. …