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Justice Stevens says law outweighs views

Aug. 25, 2005 at 5:48 PM

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Justice John Paul Stevens said in a Las Vegas speech that in two recent decisions he had to choose the law over what he believes to be right.

The two rulings, where Stevens voted with the majority, were the decision that New London, Conn., could use eminent domain to take the property of several homeowners for a development, and the one that federal drug laws pre-empt state laws allowing marijuana use for medical purposes, the New York Times reported. Stevens talked about them in a speech last week to a bar association in Las Vegas.

"In each I was convinced that the law compelled a result that I would have opposed if I were a legislator," Stevens said.

The Times suggested Stevens may have been trying to send a signal on the nomination of Judge John Roberts to succeed the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -- that a Supreme Court nominee's views on the law are more important than their views on issues.

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