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Justice John Paul Stevens' 10 Most Important Supreme Court Decisions

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 06/09/10 06:12 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 05:05 PM ET

Over the course of his 34-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice John Paul Stevens, who announced on Friday that he will retire this summer, has opined on a broad array of contentious issues -- from gun control to the death penalty to flag-burning.

Recently, he played a central role on the bench, authoring landmark majority opinions on President Bush's detention policies and firm dissenting opinions on issues such as campaign finance.

While this is a moment to speculate about who President Obama might nominate to succeed Justice Stevens on the High Court, it's also a time to reflect on the 89-year-old jurist's legacy. We've compiled a list of what may be Stevens' 10 most important decisions:

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)
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Stevens issued a scathing 90-page dissent -- the longest of his career -- in this landmark ruling on the use of corporate contributions for political campaigns. The key holding in the case was that corporate funding for political ads could not be limited under the First Amendment.

In his dissent, Stevens charged the Court with judicial overreach: “There were principled, narrower paths that a Court that was serious about judicial restraint could have taken….Essentially, five justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law….The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution."
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