Talk about misleading your audience. The Washington Post, in a front page headline teasing a story on John Paul Stevens, described the famously liberal Supreme Court justice as a “centrist.” The above-the-masthead tease insisted, “At 99, reflecting on a career as a Supreme Court centrist.”
The misleading headline is even contradicted by Post writer Robert Barnes's article. In the story, appearing on A-11, Sunday, he noted that Stevens “retired in 2010 as the court’s most outspoken liberal.” Outspoken liberal is an accurate description of the pro-abortion rights, anti-Second Amendment judge.
Barnes highlighted just how upset Stevens still is by the 2008 Supreme Court decision declaring that the Second Amendment is an individual right:
But one particular loss lingers and, Stevens says, brings grim reminders almost weekly: the court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which found the Second Amendment protects a right to individual gun ownership unrelated to possible military service.
“Unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the Court announced during my tenure on the bench,” Stevens writes in his new memoir, “The Making of a Justice.”
Heller and the Second Amendment, Stevens said in the interview, produce “such disastrous practical effects. I think there’s no need for all the guns we have in the country and if I could get rid of one thing it would be to get rid of that whole gun climate.”
Hardly expressing centrist qualities, Steven is also bothered by Chief Justice John Roberts, who he views as a “conservative.”
And he expressed surprise about Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., whom he respects and admires. “I must confess he’s more conservative than I realized,” Stevens said. “But that doesn’t go to his quality as a chief justice.”
It’s clear that Stevens is on the left, even the liberal Los Angeles Times described him in 2010 as “leader of the court's liberal wing.” In 2011, Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos described Stevens as “a forceful leader of the Court's liberal wing.” Maybe someone should tell the headline writers at the Washington Post?