With his retirement in June after participating in more than 800 cases - including his career-identifying 7-2 opinion in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion - the definition of Harry Blackmun's tenure lies in the seeming contradiction of commitment and flexibility. Along with a steadfast defense of the right to abortion in Roe, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), and successive cases, Blackmun's significance was in the power of his vote. Often overlooked in the public's emphasis on Roe is an appreciation of Blackmun's reflective, methodical, if not occasionally pointed, jurisprudence.
Richard C. Reuben,
Justice Defined - It Takes More than a Single Opinion to Understand How Legal Reasoning and Personal Experience Shape a 24-Year Career, 80 ABA Journal 46
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