ABA Journal: Retired Justice John Paul Stevens says his 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London was so unpopular that he was criticized by fellow bridge players.
A duplicate bridge player, Stevens has silver life master status for the points he has amassed with the American Contract Bridge League, according to a 2009 story (PDF) in its Daily Bulletin. He tells the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) that he was merely applying 50-year-old precedent when he wrote the opinion allowing the city of New London, Conn., to use eminent domain to seize property for economic development by a private developer. “It’s the most unpopular opinion I ever wrote, no doubt about it,” he acknowledged.
“I had people at a bridge game stop me and ask, ‘How could you have written that opinion? We thought you were a good judge, but we learned otherwise,’ ” Stevens told the newspaper. “But you can’t explain the whole law of eminent domain to your bridge opponents.”