Stevens Regrets Upholding Death Penalty

Monday, 04 Oct 2010 09:51 PM

By Donna White

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Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens criticized decisions rendered under Chief Justice John Roberts and lamented that he voted to uphold the death penalty, USA Today reported as Elena Kagan took the 90-year-old’s spot on the court Monday. Despite his john,paul,stevens,supreme,court,death,penaltycriticism of the Roberts-era decisions, Steven said, “In time, the court will straighten itself out.’’

In his interview with USA Today’s Joan Biskupic, the outgoing liberal justice didn’t personally attack Roberts or any other justice. But he did take issue with a 2007 5-4 ruling striking down school districts’ integration plans and a 2008 opinion, also 5-4, that declared a Second Amendment right for individuals to bear arms. Both decisions, Stevens said, would never have been made with the justices he served with when he joined the court in 1975.

In his interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Roberts said his 1976 support to uphold the death penalty was “incorrect” and the one decision he regretted. It is “the one vote I would change,’’ he added.

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