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By GARRY WILLS | February 28, 1994
Chicago. -- There are statements that go down in history even if they seem to be quixotic verbal gestures at the time. I think, for instance, of Joseph Welch's question of Joseph McCarthy: ''At long last, have you left no sense of decency?'' Or Lillian Hellman's statement to the House Un-American Activities Committee: ''I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions.'' These few words live on because they put large events in the sharpest kind of moral focus.We can add another sentence to that list of catalytic verbal agents, Harry Blackmun's words in the Supreme Court's refusal to review a death-penalty case.
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NEWS
By Cal Thomas | March 10, 2004
ARLINGTON, Va. - Two comments about law may bring some clarity to the raging debate over same-sex "marriage" and other issues that shape our destiny. "The observance of the law is the greatest solvent of public ills." That was Calvin Coolidge in his acceptance speech for the vice presidential nomination on July 27, 1920. About 1,900 years earlier, another commentator said, "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly" (emphasis mine). The author of that remark was Paul, the Apostle, in a letter to his young protege, Timothy (1 Timothy 1:8)
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NEWS
By SARA ENGRAM | April 10, 1994
The word ''odyssey'' was invoked more than once this week in stories about the pending retirement of Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. The reference was to his ideological transformation from a somewhat bland Midwestern Republican who accepted capital-punishment laws -- to a man who, earlier this year, could write an impassioned attack on the death penalty. ''I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death,'' he vowed.Mr. Blackmun began his tenure on the court as the conservative justice whose frequent agreement with then-Chief Justice Warren Burger, a childhood friend, earned them the nickname ''Minnesota Twins.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | March 4, 2004
WASHINGTON - In the spring of 1992, Justice Harry A. Blackmun's struggle to preserve the right to abortion he had articulated for the Supreme Court two decades earlier was headed for bitter failure. Five justices had voted in a closed-door conference to uphold provisions in a restrictive Pennsylvania abortion law. Roe vs. Wade was in peril. Then, suddenly, everything changed. A letter from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whom Blackmun had long since written off as a potential ally, arrived at his chambers.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The Sun | April 6, 1994
WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, 85, has decided to retire and plans to announce it later today.The senior justice, best known as the author of the Roe vs. Wade abortion decision in 1973, told the White House several days ago of his plan.Ending a quarter-century on the court, Justice Blackmun has become its most liberal member. He and Justice John Paul Stevens are the dwindling remnant of the court's once-dominant liberal bloc.He was considered a moderate when appointed by President Richard M. Nixon in 1970.
NEWS
March 2, 1994
Last week, Justice Harry Blackmun announced in a solitary dissent in a capital punishment case that he would never again vote to uphold a death sentence. "I conclude that no sentence of death may be constitutionally imposed."That is quite a change for Justice Blackmun, as his critics have been quick to point out. He voted to uphold the death penalty in 1972, when the court by a 5-4 vote overturned it as it then existed in all states that practiced capital punishment.But anyone who has paid any attention to Justice Blackmun's career in the past two decades saw this coming.
NEWS
May 14, 1995
Former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, author of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion, will be among the guests honored at Western Maryland College's 125th commencement at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Gill Physical Education Learning Center.Justice Blackmun, who served on the nation's highest court from 1970 to 1994, is known for the scholarly and thorough way he wrote his opinions.He graduated with highest honors from Harvard University, where he earned his law degree, and practiced law in Minneapolis for 16 years.
NEWS
By Carl M. Cannon and Carl M. Cannon,Washington Bureau of The Sun Sun staff writer Lyle Denniston contributed to this article | April 7, 1994
WASHINGTON -- President Clinton, pausing yesterday to make an emotional tribute to retiring Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, officially launched the process of seeking an equally distinguished successor. That won't be easy, Mr. Clinton suggested."Justice has not only been his title; it has been his guiding light," the president said in the Roosevelt Room as he stood beside the 85-year-old justice, the last member of the court's once-powerful liberal bloc.He will end his 24-year career on the high court when its term ends in June.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau | May 8, 1993
WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, putting an end to speculation that there would be a second retirement among the justices this year, will be back for another term in October, the court said yesterday."
NEWS
By Dallas Morning News | February 23, 1994
WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun has ended a tortuous personal odyssey on the death penalty by using a Dallas man's case to declare that capital punishment is unconstitutional.In an extraordinary statement, Justice Blackmun contended yesterday that administration of the death penalty is fraught with errors, unfairness and inconsistency that the judiciary is not correcting."From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death," the veteran jurist wrote in a 22-page dissent from the court's decision not to review Bruce Edwin Callins' death case.
SPORTS
By Jon Morgan and Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF | October 20, 2001
Top officials of the United States Olympic Committee are scheduled to meet in Chicago tomorrow to select a new chief executive, and there is strong support for former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke - although the voting could get messy. Schmoke, now in private law practice, declined to comment, but several sources familiar with the search say it appears to have come down to him and two others: Scott Blackmun, the acting chief executive, and Lloyd Ward, a former chairman of appliance maker Maytag Corp.
NEWS
March 5, 1999
HARRY A. BLACKMUN, who died yesterday at age 90, wanted to be remembered as a hard-working Supreme Court justice who applied the law fairly and contributed much during his 24-year tenure. He knew, though, that he would always be linked to his 1973 opinion upholding a woman's right to an abortion."A right of personal privacy is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy," Justice Blackmun wrote for the court's majority that year in the celebrated Roe vs. Wade case.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | March 5, 1999
WASHINGTON -- Retired Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun -- a quiet, modest and religious man who came to be adored and damned for a single act of judging, the abortion decision of 1973 -- died yesterday. He was 90.Five years after he retired at the end of nearly a quarter-century on the court, Mr. Blackmun died at 1 a.m. at a hospital in Arlington, Va., of complications after hip-replacement surgery. He had broken his hip late last month in a fall at his apartment in Arlington.Mr. Blackmun joined the court as a reliable conservative ally of Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and left it as a predictable liberal.
NEWS
May 14, 1995
Former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, author of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion, will be among the guests honored at Western Maryland College's 125th commencement at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Gill Physical Education Learning Center.Justice Blackmun, who served on the nation's highest court from 1970 to 1994, is known for the scholarly and thorough way he wrote his opinions.He graduated with highest honors from Harvard University, where he earned his law degree, and practiced law in Minneapolis for 16 years.
NEWS
By SARA ENGRAM | April 10, 1994
The word ''odyssey'' was invoked more than once this week in stories about the pending retirement of Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. The reference was to his ideological transformation from a somewhat bland Midwestern Republican who accepted capital-punishment laws -- to a man who, earlier this year, could write an impassioned attack on the death penalty. ''I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death,'' he vowed.Mr. Blackmun began his tenure on the court as the conservative justice whose frequent agreement with then-Chief Justice Warren Burger, a childhood friend, earned them the nickname ''Minnesota Twins.
NEWS
By ELLEN GOODMAN | April 8, 1994
Boston. -- The news stories all described him the same way: ''Justice Harry Blackmun, the author of the abortion decision.'' The byline on one decision followed him through his years on the bench. Now it follows him into retirement.It's the byline that brought protesters to the courthouse. It's the name that brought hate letters to the mailbox. It's the name that bred a score of malicious nicknames: butcher, Hitler, Pontius Pilate.Surely, there are labels this gentle, careful justice would have preferred.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | March 4, 2004
WASHINGTON - In the spring of 1992, Justice Harry A. Blackmun's struggle to preserve the right to abortion he had articulated for the Supreme Court two decades earlier was headed for bitter failure. Five justices had voted in a closed-door conference to uphold provisions in a restrictive Pennsylvania abortion law. Roe vs. Wade was in peril. Then, suddenly, everything changed. A letter from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whom Blackmun had long since written off as a potential ally, arrived at his chambers.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The Sun | April 7, 1994
WASHINGTON -- Justice Harry A. Blackmun's retirement this summer will leave the Supreme Court with one obvious gap: It will have no judge willing to keep a thumb on the scale of the law to make it weigh in favor of "the little people."That is how Justice Blackmun has seen his job for years, that is what has led most court observers to label him a "liberal," and that is why he sometimes is criticized for appearing to opt for results more than for legal principle.Without a justice inclined that way, the court after Justice Blackmun is likely to be seen as moving even further toward the center of the judicial spectrum -- a center revolving around the idea that the law is not meant to be an engine of social reform.
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