Stevens v. Scalia
Posted on Oct 21, 2010
Now that retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens no longer has to see his former colleague Justice Antonin Scalia in the lunchroom every day, he’s free to tell tales out of the top court, which he did earlier this month in a speech criticizing Scalia’s handling of a case from 1991. —KA
Speaking at the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, Stevens took aim at Scalia for his 1991 opinion in Harmelin v. Michigan upholding a mandatory life sentence for possession of 672 grams of cocaine, the National Law Journal reports.
According to Stevens, Scalia said the Eighth Amendment does not require the punishment to fit the crime. “Under his reasoning, since imprisonment is not categorically cruel or unusual, a life sentence for a parking violation would not have violated the Eighth Amendment,” Stevens said in the speech (PDF).
Now-retired Justice John Paul Stevens poses in his robes for this official Supreme Court photo from 2008.