UC Davis law professor Diane Marie Amann was a former law clerk with retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and has been quoted by a number of media outlets since Stevens announced his retirement last week
“He is undoubtedly a leader on the court,” she told CNN, “and although the vote change [on a 5-4 conservative majority] may not alter very much in the short run, the absence of Justice Stevens’ leadership, his ability to build coalitions along people with very different ideas about things, will be something that will be hard to replace in the short term.”
In the Washington Post, Amann said that “When I clerked for him (in the late-1980s), the terms ‘maverick’ and ‘wild card’ still carried a lot of currency,” noting that in the early part of his career on the Supreme Court Stevens was known not just for dissents from the majority, but from other justices in the minority.
Amann is currently writing a book about Stevens.
Vikram Amar, associate dean of the law school, took part in a discussion on Stevens’ career on National Public Radio earlier today. Amar, who clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, agreed that the Court had moved to the right over Stevens tenure, although Stevens had also changed his position on some issues somewhat. In the San Francisco Chronicle, Amar helped handicap the field of replacements for Stevens.