December 14, 2010
This column suggests that judges should say nothing outside of the four corners of their opinions. But it levies its criticism at John Paul Stevens, David Souter, and Sandra Day O'Connor -- three retired Justices of the Supreme Court. I say, once they've retired, they're private citizens and have the same First Amendment rights as anyone else. Now, retired Justices occasionally still serve in a variety of judicial capacities and then should respect the canons of judicial ethics about public statements. They should also point to their opinions in cases that they had decided as the primary articulation of their reasoning and intent. But aside from that, yes, they should be free to comment on whatever they wish.