Gerald Ford

Justice John Paul Stevens Above the Law.jpgWell, not in so many words. But in his interview last night with Jan Crawford Greenburg of ABC News — his first television appearance network television interview ever — Justice John Paul Stevens seemed healthy, lucid, and far from death’s door.
(Our apologies to the ConfirmThem crew. We hate to be the bearers of bad news.)
We did catch the interview last night. Twice, actually — we watched the excerpt on World News Tonight, then the full version on Nightline. You can access a video clip of an abridged version by clicking here.
Our thoughts on the interview:
1. Justice Stevens gets style points for the turquoise paisley bowtie. Paisley is a fashion cliche here in D.C.; but JPS wears it in a “I don’t care what you think” sort of way, which is great.
2. Negative style points for the brown plastic eyeglasses. Justice Stevens, you can do better. We know the Chief is always bitching about how little you guys get paid. But your most recent financial disclosure forms reveal that you’re a millionaire. You can afford wire-framed glasses.
3. Throughout the interview, Justice Stevens is articulate and alert. Yes, his head is permanently stuck in a slight rightward tilt. But that’s par for the course for old people. (JPS is 86 years old, turning 87 on April 20 of this year.)
4. Jan Crawford Greenburg is still a hottie. The reddish brown hair — is that its natural color? — is simply faboo. (Click here, then scroll down, for our exclusive photos of her.)
5. Justice Stevens reminisces about his late friend, President Gerald R. Ford, who appointed him to the Supreme Court. JPS describes Ford as “a fine lawyer” and ” the kind of person I would really like to have as a friend, because you like him right away.”
6. Greenburg asks whether President Ford was surprised by how Justice Stevens turned out as a SCOTUS jurist. Ford was a Republican, and JPS has turned out to be one of the Court’s most liberal members.
Justice Stevens: Ford may have been surprised by “some of my decisions.” But “over the years, I gather he was not unhappy with the results on the whole.”
7. Greenburg questions JPS further about his ideology and jurisprudence. She notes that President Ford’s attorney general, Edward Levi, described Justice Stevens as “a moderative conservative.” She asks the justice: How do you see yourself today?
Justice Stevens says that he sees himself as a “moderate conservative.” He adds: “I don’t think I’ve really changed. I think there has been a lot of change on the Court.”
8. The coup de grâce: near the end of the interview, Justice Stevens says: “I see myself as a conservative, to tell you the truth.”
Okay, maybe the old man is losing it — just a little bit.
Update: Orin Kerr’s thoughts on point #8 appear here. Can Justice Stevens perhaps consider himself a “judicial conservative” (even if he’s not a political conservative)?
Justice John Paul Stevens: The Silent Justice [ABC News (video)]
Justice Appointed By Ford Remembers the Late President [ABC News]
Is Justice Stevens a Judicial Conservative? [Volokh Conspiracy]

Monica Lewinsky Monica S Lewinsky Monica Lewinsky Monica Samille Lewinsky.JPG* The nation mourns President Gerald R. Ford. Federal government employees and stock exchange workers thank him for a four-day weekend. [Washington Post; Associated Press]
* Plaintiffs’ class-action lawyer William Lerach claims that firing him would cause “delay, duplication of effort and extra costs.” So does hiring him. [WSJ Law Blog]
* A new year, an old question: Are federal judges underpaid? Maybe; maybe not. [New York Times; Washington Wire; SCOTUSblog; National Review Online (via How Appealing)]
(We think Chief Justice Roberts is being a bit alarmist. Is it truly a “constitutional crisis” that Sidwell Friends doesn’t accept payment in prestige?)
* This seems sensible. But since when has the Senate cared about common sense? The inefficiency quirkiness of that institution is why we love it so. [Los Angeles Times via How Appealing]
* Can New York Governor Eliot Spitzer live up to the hype? Several scandals have at least given him a lot to work with. [New York Times]
* WaPo columnist Richard Cohen shares our love for Monica Lewinsky. Why can’t the media give her the respect that she’s entitled to? Making double entendres about oral sex is no way to treat a lady. [Washington Post]

2007 happy new year dessert.jpgWelcome to 2007! Don’t forget to date your checks, memos, and other documents with the correct year.
If you were out of the office last week — and aren’t a federal government employee, with the day off to mourn President Ford — welcome back to work. We hope you had a good holiday and enjoyed your week off.
We’re resuming our normal publication schedule today. After we dig ourselves out from underneath an avalanche of spam, and get ourselves caffeinated, we’ll be back to our usual antics. So check back soon!
National Day of Mourning for President Gerald R. Ford [White House]
IRS Opts Out of Today’s Day of Mourning for President Ford [TaxProf Blog]

* Chief Justice John Roberts is still as perfect as ever. In between reshaping the Supreme Court, he still has time to visit sick friends in the hospital. He probably makes them chicken soup, too. [Legal Times]
* It’s a busy time of year — not just for retailers processing returns, but for lawyers-turned-politicians with White House aspirations. [New York Times]
* Is the D.C. Circuit fallible? Bite your tongue! [WSJ Law Blog]
* Saddam Hussein is not long for this world. If only the Ninth Circuit had heard his death penalty appeal. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Defense lawyers want the feds to get involved in the Duke lacrosse team rape sexual assault and kidnapping case. [ABC News]
* It’s official: Michael Wallace has asked the White House to withdraw his Fifth Circuit nomination. Will other controversial nominees follow suit? [Biloxi Sun-Herald via How Appealing]
* We wrote briefly about the passing of President Gerald Ford last night. Here’s a little bit more, including some interesting info about his time at Yale Law School. [WSJ Law Blog]

Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr Gerald Ford Gerald R Ford Above the Law.jpgLike so many other presidents, Gerald Ford was a lawyer. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1941, in the top third of his class (back when they ranked students). He practiced law in Michigan before entering politics.
Some random trivia. Gerald R. Ford was:

(1) the longest-lived U.S. president ever, exceeding the record set by Ronald Reagan, who also died at 93;

(2) the first person appointed to the vice-presidency pursuant to the 25th Amendment, having replaced the disgraced and scandal-ridden Spiro Agnew; and

(3) the first American president to hold that office without having been elected either president or vice-president, since he assumed the presidency after the resignation of the disgraced and scandal-ridden Richard Nixon.

(On a completely random note, we used to go trick-or-treating at President Nixon’s house.)
Former President Ford Dead at 93 [Associated Press]
Biography of Gerald R. Ford []