For Fordham Law School dean William Treanor, the news of Justice John Paul Stevens' retirement brought to mind a poignant memory about Stevens and his relationship with his appointing president Gerald Ford. When Fordham ran a symposium on Stevens on the occasion of his 30th anniversary on the Court in 2005, Ford wrote Treanor a letter in which he said that he was "prepared to allow history's judgment of my term in office to rest, (if necessary, exclusively) on my nomination thirty years ago of Justice John Paul Stevens."
Treanor said today, "When I presented the letter to Justice Stevens, he had tears in his eyes. It was very moving." Treanor said Stevens later hung the letter on his office wall. "I told Benton Becker, President Ford's counsel, how much the letter meant to Justice Stevens and how honored I was to present it. I was further honored when President Ford then called me on the phone and told me personally how proud he was of the Stevens' nomination. President Ford's pride was a testament to how fully Justice Stevens, throughout his career on the Supreme Court, embodied the integrity, the excellence, and the independent thought that President Ford had been seeking when he named him. Justice Stevens' career was a great tribute to the man who nominated him."
For commentary on Stevens and his legacy, check out our new blog Speaking of Stevens.