A week and a half short of his 90th birthday, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, as expected, is retiring. Nominated by Gerald Ford in 1975, he's part of a history that goes back to Eisenhower of Republican nominees who veered left once they got on the Court.
Right or left, I've never thought much of him as a Justice. He's fine with penalizing political messages during elections under campaign finance laws, and is willing to throw people in jail for flag-burning. At one time he had trouble with colleges judging candidates on the basis of their skin color, but now thinks it's perfectly acceptable. As far as he's concerned, there's no business that isn't federal business under the Commerce Clause. He's willing to give the government a lot of leeway in Fourth Amendment searches.
And he seems to believe Shakespeare didn't write his own plays.
So let's say goodbye to Justice Stevens. At least he wasn't entirely predictable. Here's hoping the new nominee surprises his President a little, too.