I have a real love-hate relationship with this guy.
I first came to know Justice Stevens as the author of the wonderful Supreme Court Decision striking down the Communications Decency Act. It was a stirring opinion, and he noted strongly:
“The interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship,”
At that point I was thinking “here’s a Justice who really understands the importance of the freedom of the individual over governmental attempts to squash it.
And then, in one of his later major decisions as a Justice, he authored the wholly reprehensible opinion in Illinois v. Caballes, where he decided that dogs should be allowed to determine when a search was allowed, including this outrageous statement.
“A dog sniff conducted during a concededly lawful traffic stop that reveals no information other than the location of a substance that no individual has any right to possess does not violate the Fourth Amendment.”
Based on that decision, he became one of my least favorite Justices.
Then, Stevens retired and wrote a bizarre bit about the six amendments he would add to the Constitution – a piece that sounded like it came from someone who had absolutely no understanding of the concept of the Constitution.
Now, Stevens has come out in favor of marijuana legalization.
“Yes,” Stevens replied. “I really think that that’s another instance of public opinion [that's] changed. And recognize that the distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction. Alcohol, the prohibition against selling and dispensing alcoholic beverages has I think been generally, there’s a general consensus that it was not worth the cost. And I think really in time that will be the general consensus with respect to this particular drug.”
Yay. Gee, thanks.
As are all the people who got pulled over and had their cars searched because a dog decided to please its master.