WASHINGTON, D.C.—People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker issued the following statement in response to the death of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens:
“We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Justice John Paul Stevens, who died yesterday at the age of 99. Justice Stevens came to the Supreme Court as a moderate Republican who, as politics shifted around him, became a leader among the Court’s progressives. Stevens possessed a powerful, persuasive intellect, unimpeachable integrity, and a rich life experience.
“Stevens wrote important majority opinions holding presidents accountable. Among many examples, he held the pen for the court’s majority opinion in 2006 that barred President George W. Bush from holding military trials for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay without congressional authorization. He wrote that “the Executive is bound to comply with the rule of law,” a fundamental cornerstone of our freedom that the current president undermines at every turn.
“At a time when money in politics is drowning out the voice of the people, Stevens was on the side of sanity. Writing in his powerful dissent in Citizens United, Stevens said, ‘While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.’
“Stevens’ work on the court showed a respect for the rights of all people, not just corporations and the rich, an unshakable commitment to our country’s democratic principles, and a profound respect for the precedents of the court. His tenure illustrated the impact that a fair-minded constitutionalist can have on our common life together, and he will be deeply missed.”
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.