Wick Communications

John Paul Stevens and you

In Ideas on 9 Apr 2010 at 9:49 am

Hey, did you hear? Justice John Paul Stevens is retiring from the Supreme Court.

OK, so you heard. Did you wonder how that might be a story for you?

The retirement and subsequent appointment of a Supreme Court justice may seem like the ultimate inside-the-beltway story involving ephemeral concepts of legal nuance that are of little use to us in the world of community journalism. Well, maybe we should look again.

You might be able to bring this story home.

  • Who is on the short list for a replacement? It’s entirely possible someone near you is under consideration.
  • What is Stevens’ legacy? I’m not going to pretend to know at this point. But I understand he was appointed by Gerald Ford only to become something of a liberal. That said, my understanding is that he sometimes seemed to favor government action over individual rights (Kelo v. New London, for instance.) Perhaps there was a case in his past that was pivotal in your community…
  • What do your readers think about the court? Can they name the justices? Can they describe the way a case trickles up to the Supremes?
  • It’s possible that, for the first time in the nation’s history, the court will now be without a protestant justice. That’s a little interesting, isn’t it? Does it matter to anyone in a majority protestant country?

You get the idea. There may be local stories hidden in this – and other – really big national stories.

– Clay


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