Retired Justice Stevens: Hope Trump doesn't do 'too much' damage to courts

Retired Justice Stevens: Hope Trump doesn't do 'too much' damage to courts

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens told CNN he remains hopeful President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE won’t “do too much damage” to the judicial branch in an interview that aired Tuesday.

“I hope he won’t do too much damage,” Stevens, 99, who is promoting his memoir, told CNN.

The former justice, who was appointed by Gerald Ford in 1975 and retired in 2010, told the network that he thinks Trump is “getting advice from people who are knowledgeable about judges,” though he would not have made the same appointments that the president has made.


He said he is not sure that Trump fully understands the role of the judiciary.

"I think he often speaks about them as Obama judges and other kinds of judges," Stevens said. "But I think John Roberts was dead right when he said that there are only one kind of judges and they're all working for the federal government."

Last November, Roberts disputed Trump’s characterization of District Court Judge Jon Tigar as an “Obama judge” after Tigar ruled the administration could not block certain asylum claims.

In the CNN interview, Stevens also expressed skepticism about some Democratic proposals to expand the number of seats on the high court.

"I don't think they should do that," Stevens said. "I think in time the court will straighten itself out. It may take longer, but I don't think the answer is increasing the number of justices."

Stevens also revisited remarks he made last year during Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughCollins walks impeachment tightrope Supreme Court sharply divided over state aid for religious schools How Citizens United altered America's political landscape MORE’s confirmation hearings that there was “merit” to concerns about Kavanaugh’s neutrality. While Stevens said Kavanaugh was a “good judge,” he added that he did not regret speaking out, saying “No, that’s really an entirely separate issue.”