Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens told ABC that his decision to step down “was not made for any political reason whatsoever,” but it’s natural for justices to think about who might fill their shoes.
The 94-year-old judge’s retirement in 2010 allowed President Obama to pick another liberal for the court, Justice Elena Kagan.
Stevens is out with a book proposing six amendments to the Constitution, including altering the Second Amendment to say “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, when serving in the militia, shall not be infringed.”
“I think every one of my proposals is a moderate proposal,” the justice said. “…I think that’s what should be the rule that it should be legislatures rather than judges who draw the line what is permissible.”
He said the new wording is “what was intended, because there was a fear among the original farmers that the federal government would be so strong that they might destroy the state militias. The amendment would merely prevent arguments being made that Congress doesn’t have the power to do what they think is in the best public interest.”
Under the amendment, Stevens acknowledged, Congress could ban individual gun ownership.
Another proposed amendment would ban gerrymandering with the intention of preserving political power.
“Well, it’s subjective, but it’s easily recognizable if you look at the shapes of the districts that gerrymandering produces. It doesn’t take a genius to say that there’s something fishy with these particular districts,” he said.
Stevens said he “really” believes they will eventually pass.
“Well, perhaps today there might be no chance for certainly the second amendment proposal. But the difficulty of the process shouldn’t foreclose an attempt,” he said.