U.S Supreme Court private papers reach the public with rare revelations

Justice John Paul Stevens

Leaks from the Highest Court in the land are very rare. But when they happen, they rock the public.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court’s private papers have reached the public with rare revelations.

Back in May of 2022, a leak of a draft decision of the Dobbs decision hit the public and set the political world on fire.

The radical Left lost their minds and tried to intimidate the Supreme Court Justices to change their opinions, while many Americans were concerned about the security of the Court now.

Such high-profile information from the Supreme Court almost never reaches the public.

But every once in a while the American people get that inside look and the latest inside look is in regards to the former Justice John Paul Stevens who served from 1975-2010.

The Library of Congress is opening a large collection of Justice John Paul Stevens’ papers to researchers on Tuesday. These papers offer a glimpse into the justices’ inner deliberations in significant cases like Bush v. Gore, the 2000 decision that essentially decided the presidential election.

Stevens, who passed away in 2019, spent almost 35 years on the Supreme Court. The court rendered judgments during that time on cases involving, among other things, abortion rights, affirmative action, presidential power, the right to bear arms, and the rights of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility. The files that are being made public include drafts of opinions, correspondence between the justices, and notes taken by Stevens during the justices’ private case-related meetings.

The launch of the collection coincides with recent rulings or considerations on some of the same important concerns by the current court. After nearly 50 years, states can now outlaw abortion thanks to the court’s conservative majority’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year. Affirmative action, is also currently up for debate among the Justices. Before the end of June, when the court typically completes its work before taking a summer break, a verdict on affirmative action is anticipated.

Initially seen as a centrist when he joined the court in 1975 under Republican President Gerald Ford, Stevens eventually gained a reputation as the court’s most prominent liberal Justices. Stevens claimed that although he hadn’t changed, the court had become more conservative in his vicinity.

However, he did alter his opinions on a few topics. For instance, he changed from being an opponent to a proponent of affirmative action.

Since Stevens’ departure, the court has only become more conservative. Nine people make up the court; three are liberal and six are conservative.

The Bush v. Gore lawsuit, which resulted in Bush winning the presidency in 2000, is mentioned in two or three boxes of papers in the collection, according to the Library of Congress.

In 2020, the Library of Congress released a selection of Stevens’ papers online for the first time. These papers mostly spanned the years 1975 to 1984. The new collection, which goes on sale on Tuesday, spans the years 1984 through 2004.

The justices’ documents are regarded as personal property, and there is no requirement that they maintain any records or make them available to the public.

Along with Harry Blackmun and Thurgood Marshall, Stevens is one of many justices whose papers were made public while at least one of their fellow judges was still on the bench.

Stevens’ most recent records, which span the years 2005 to 2010, when the Supreme Court rendered decisions in two significant cases involving gun rights, won’t be made public until 2030.

Stevens worked alongside numerous current justices of the court at that most recent time, including Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Clarence Thomas is the only sitting justice who is mentioned in the publically available papers.

It will be interesting to see in what capacity Clarence Thomas is mentioned by former Justice Stevens with regards to the cases that they worked on together.

The papers may not be available online at the moment, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated on any interesting revelations that are discovered from the papers.

Stay tuned to the Federalist Wire.