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December 2016 , Page 60 

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Book Review: John Paul Stevens - Defender of Rights in Criminal Justice

By Cheryl D. Stein

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John Paul Stevens
Defender of Rights in Criminal Justice

By Christopher E. Smith
Lexington Books (2015)


John Paul Stevens had the third-longest tenure on the Supreme Court. He wrote more concurrences (389) and dissents (720) than any other justice in the Court’s history. David Souter described him as the “smartest” justice and Antonin Scalia referred to him as his “favorite sparring partner.” Yet he has received much less scholarly attention than most of his contemporaries. Christopher E. Smith, a professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University, wrote this book in an effort to correct that imbalance and give Stevens the attention he deserves.

According to Smith, the lack of in-depth analysis of Stevens’ role on the Court is not due to his lack of importance. Rather, it is the result of the academic’s preference for subjects that are “controversial, small-scale and manageable.” Stevens’ work on the Court had none of those attributes. His output was prodi

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