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Justice Stevens Announces Retirement from Supreme Court
WASHINGTON - April 9 - Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement today, ending a tenure that began in 1975. He is the Court’s senior Associate Justice.
Justice Stevens played a crucial role in protecting environmental laws that serve the public interest from legal attacks by corporate special interests. He sided with the majority in Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, holding that Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups harmed by the pollution of companies violating federal environmental standards had the right to challenge those violations in court. In 2007, Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion for Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, ruling that carbon dioxide could be regulated under the Clean Air Act. In 2009, the EPA confirmed that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endangered public health, and announced plans to move forward with such regulations. Friends of the Earth was a petitioner in both cases.
Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica had the following statement:
“We thank Justice Stevens for his many years of service and dedication to upholding the rights and equal opportunities of every American. In his many years as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Stevens was a resounding voice on behalf of the Constitution, the rule of law, including environmental protection laws, and the rights of citizens to bring legal challenges against corporations and federal agencies.
“Justice Stevens has consistently applied the principle that all Americans are equal under the law. He has ruled in favor of those standing up to corruption and corporate influence. His vigorous dissent in Citizens United v. FEC demonstrates his conviction, to the very end of his tenure, that the Constitution does not give corporate money the right to speak louder than individuals in this democracy.
“While Justice Stevens’s replacement will have very large shoes to fill, it is my hope that President Obama will nominate someone with as much integrity, dignity, and dedication to rational discourse and the rule of law as Justice Stevens.”