on Jun 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm
The following tribute for our series on John Paul Stevens is by David Levi, dean of Duke Law School. Â Levi clerked for Justice Powell during the 1981 Supreme Court Term.
In my era as a law clerk, it was customary for each of the Justices toÂ take to lunch the law clerks of the other Justices, chambers byÂ chambers. Â In my recollection, Justice Stevens took the Powell clerks toÂ the Monocle toward the end of the 1981 Term. Â Having been a law clerkÂ himself, he said to us words to this effect: Â â€œRight about now, youÂ may be feeling somewhat cynical about or disappointed in the Court. Â ButÂ I want to tell you that once you have left here for a while and gone onÂ to practice or teach, your respect for the institution will come back,Â perhaps even stronger than it ever was.â€ Â I am happy to say thatÂ Justice Stevens was right, and, speaking for myself, hisÂ wonderful service on the Court is one of the reasons. Â Others haveÂ commented on his contributions to legal doctrine, but what stands outÂ for me, as a former federal judge, is his total dedication to the artÂ and craft of judging.