April 20th, 2010
05:36 PM ET

Justice Stevens will be hard act to follow

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Donna Brazile
CNN Contributor

Campaign finance reform advocates will lose a great hero when Justice John Paul Stevens retires from the Supreme Court. As the last remaining World War II veteran in such a place of eminence, he brings an invaluable perspective to the bench.

Like Justice Sonia Sotomayor, although for different reasons, Justice Stevens knows history and has a background no other justice can claim. Veterans of any war have an experience of the world that is valuable to share. John Paul Stevens will be missed, and his service cherished.

Stevens understood that the court's opinions would have ramifications for the rule of law, but also for real people. This realistic approach led him to write and join opinions restricting the application of the death penalty to youth and the mentally disabled. Stevens also wrote the dissenting opinion in Bush v. Gore (2000), a decision I know all too well having served as Vice President Al Gore's campaign manager.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Donna Brazile • Supreme Court
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