Mark Wilson/GettyThere's been talk, and it finally happened: Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 89, announced today that he'll retire at the end of this term.
As a law student, then a lawyer, I spent a lot of time with Stevens so I'm going to be suffering some serious separation anxiety.
No, we never met. But I can't count the number of cases I read, quoted, cited, or memorized in which Justice Stevens' opinion was gold.
Stevens, who sat on the bench of our nation's highest court for 35 years, and was appointed by Gerald Ford, took the lead in key cases that limited use of the death penalty (on the mentally retarded, for example) and expanded gay rights.
Most recently, Stevens wrote the dissenting opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission -- you know, the Supreme Court decision that came down earlier this year in which the majority ruled that corporations were people too.
He also wrote the dissenting opinion in Bush v. Gore, the infamous case in which the majority's ruling ended the Florida recount during the 2000 presidential election.
Justice Stevens is a brilliant thinker, a great writer, and an admirable human being.
I'll miss you Justice Stevens (and your bow-ties too), but I know I can always cuddle up with an old law book or get on Lexis Nexis and find a never-ending source of comfort in your words of wisdom and shared love of our country.
If you're interested in learning more about him, the Los Angeles Times has printed a timeline of John Paul Stevens life, and the Huffington Post sums up Stevens' 10 most important Supreme Court decisions.