Stevens and ex-colleagues took different paths in retirement
WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens never really put down his pen. Without opinions and dissents to write following his retirement from the Supreme Court in 2010, Stevens chose instead to write books from his home in Florida, reflecting on his life but also the Constitution.
Stevens, who died last week at age 99 and whose body lay in repose at the court on Monday , published his first book in retirement the year after he left the court. The memoir, “Five Chiefs,” reflected on the five Supreme Court chief justices he had served under or known. A second book, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution,” followed in 2014. And his most recent book, an autobiography, came out in May, just a month after his most recent birthday.
Stevens had been particularly outspoken recently on the topic of gun control. In “Six Amendments” he called for changing the Constitution’s Second Amendment to permit gun control. Last year, after marches following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people died, Stevens wrote an essay for The New York Times calling not only for significant gun control legislation but also the Second Amendment’s repeal .
Also last year he came out against Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation following Kavanaugh’s angry denial of sexual assault allegations.
Other justices have chosen their own paths in retirement. A look at how the nation’s three other retired Supreme Court justices have been spending their time:
The Supreme Court’s most recent retiree left the court a year ago this month . Kennedy, 82, said in stepping down that he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Former clerks say Kennedy, a father of three and “Papa” to nine grandchildren, is an enthusiastic grandparent. He’s attended his grandkids’ T-ball games and ballet performances. He spoke at the high school graduations of two of his grandchildren and has talked about seeing “Hamilton” on Broadway with his grandchildren.
This summer, Kennedy taught at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law program in Austria, a practice of his for decades. He’s taught in some capacity for the California school since 1965.
Souter never really liked Washington and quickly returned to his home state of New Hampshire after leaving the court in 2009.
Now 79, Souter was just shy of 70 when he retired and decided he wasn’t quite done wearing his judicial robes. Before joining the Supreme Court, Souter had been a judge on the federal appeals court based in Boston, and he’s served on the court regularly in retirement, hearing more than 400 cases.
SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR
The first woman to serve on the Supreme Court left the court in 2006 under unhappy circumstances. Her husband was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and O’Connor, then 75, retired in part to care for him. He died in 2009.
O’Connor, now 89, announced late last year that she too had been diagnosed with the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer’s disease. O’Connor had stopped speaking publicly more than two years before the announcement, but for years she led an active retirement.
O’Connor returned to her home state of Arizona upon retiring and, like Souter, served as a visiting appeals court judge, hearing more than 175 cases and serving with all but two of the nation’s 13 federal appeals courts.
Like Stevens, she also wrote in retirement, authoring a book of stories about Supreme Court history. She also founded iCivics, an organization that promotes civic education in schools.
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