Is Justice Stevens a Judicial Conservative?:
In a recent interview with Jan Crawford Greenburg, Justice Stevens stated that he sees himself as a "moderate conservative" Justice:
Although Stevens is a maverick thinker who has proven to be surprisingly liberal and has kept the court from moving further to the right, today the justice said he stills sees himself as a conservative.

"I don't really think I've changed. I think there have been a lot of changes in the court." said the 86 year old Justice. "I can see myself as a conservative, to tell you the truth, a judicial conservative."
  My guess is that this will draw strong reactions from both sides of the political spectrum. I gather some conservatives will insist it is more proof that Stevens is out to lunch, and I gather some liberals will insist it is more proof that today's 'conservatives' are really lunatic neanderthals.

  I wonder, though, whether Stevens' self-perception is just a reflection of the what the phrase "judicial conservative" used to mean. Oversimplifying things a lot, in the 1960s and 1970s judicial liberals were the folks who favored the courts bringing about dramatic changes to the foundations of American law. In contrast, judicial conservatives were the folks who favored resisting those changes. The Justices who embraced some dramatic changes but rejected others were the moderate conservatives.

  I don't know whether Justice Stevens has this history in mind when he labels himself a "moderate conservative." As far as I know, he was not asked to define what he meant by the label. But if he has this somewat outdated framework in mind, then it doesn't seem particularly inaccurate to me.

  For my thoughts on the modern usage of such terms, see my earlier post, How Can You Tell if A Justice is 'Liberal' or 'Conservative'?

  Thanks to How Appealing for the link.