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Sat May 11, 2019, 08:36 PM

John Paul Stevens looks back on nearly a century of life and law, but worries about the future

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.— John Paul Stevens spent more than a third of his near-century on Earth at the Supreme Court, where he often was on a different page from a majority of his fellow justices.

“It happens so often that you have to get used to losing,” Stevens, 99, said during an interview this week at his condominium here, just steps from the Atlantic Ocean. “My batting average was probably pretty low.”

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.”

He continued: “Just the other day there was another school shooting in Colorado, and every time it happens, it seems to me we don’t have to have this kind of thing in this country, and we should do everything we can to try to change it.”


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