The Michigan Daity - Tuesday, November 9, 1993 - 7
Supreme Court Justice Blackmun celebrates age 85
Judge who authored Roe vs. Wade decision not ready to retire, will be fourth oldest justice
WASHINGTON (AP) - Su-
preme Court Justice Harry
Blackmun's eyes grew wide with sur-
prise, and he hurried to his desk to
rtrieveachartwith information about
A quick scan confirmed that, in-
deed, the author of the 1973 decision
legalizing abortion is the fourth old-
est person ever to serve on the nation's
He'll become the third oldest be-
fore the current court term ends in
"Holysmokes.I hadn' tbeen aware
of that," said a chuckling Blackmun,
Herzegovina (AP) - Bosnian Serb.
soldiers seized two Croats from a
U.N. armored vehicle yesterday when
they left Sarajevo on a peace mission
to a central Bosnian war zone.
Four buses ofthe firstmajorevacu-
wtian convoy since May began leav-
ing Sarajevo with Serb women, chil-
dren and elderly men going to
Belgrade, the capital of Serb-domi-
The abduction of the Croats in the
Serb-held suburb of Rajlovac under-
scored the disdain many of Bosnia's
combatants hold for U.N. troops and
thedifficultiesfacing the lightlyarmied
Six Croats and their U.N. escorts
in three armored personnel carriers
were stopped at a checkpoint as they
headed to Vares.
A U.N. spokesperson, Cmdr.
Idesbald van Biesebroeck, said about
50 Serb soldiers surrounded the ve-
hicles and "abducted two of the
Bosnians, saying they were warcrimi-
' The two -Jozo Andjic andFerdo
Dejanovic - were taken to the
Rajlovac police station, van
Biesebroeck said. The other Croats,
who included Monsignor Vinko
Puljic, archbishop of the Roman
Catholic Church in Bosnia, and the
U.N. escorts returned to Sarevo, he
Earlier in the day, Jarle
Thorgersen, a U.N. logistics officer,
d 642 Serb civilians were being
evacuated from Sarajevo in stages.
As night fell, four buses had
reached Serb territory and two more
of a planned total of 12 were being
loaded at the Sarajevo bus depot.
Officials said the evacuation was
behind schedule because of searches
by Bosnian police of evacuees' lug-
Sgage, delays at government check-
oints, and chaos at the departure
liaison officer with U.N. peacekeep-
ers, blamed much of the confusion on
ethnic Serb authorities. He said they
initially offered to let the buses take a
direct route between Sarajavo and
Pale, their headquarters outside the
capital, but then decided the buses
nust follow a more circuitous route.
U.N. spokesperson Ray Wilkinson
clarified a previous U.N. report that
the first two buses were fired on near
the airport. He said he did not believe
the fire was directed at the buses, and
added that no shots came near the
The Serbs who were leaving said
Boasnian police would not let them
take letters, large amounts of foreign
*currency, TVs or stereos.
Dragan Mihajlovic and Marina
and their two young daughters stood
near one of buses hoping someone on
the listwould notshow up. The names
zf the wife and daughters were not on
the list of evacuees, and Mihajlovic
was not permitted to leave because he
:s of military age.
We want to leave this town for-
ver,' he said.
"We don't want to live here any-
nore." Asked if he had been mis-
:reated or harassed, he nodded yes,
autadded, "It'sveryhardtosay some-
Germany and France sought to
who turns 85 Friday. "I may have to
start packing my things."
But his mood turned more serious
before he answered the next question:
Will this term become Blackmun's
"I prefer not to comment on that
yet," he said in an interview with The
"I know how old I am. One is as
old as he feels, and I feel pretty well."
Blackmun is best known for Roe
vs. Wade and for his role in subse-
quentSupreme Courtrulings on abor-
It's made him the most vilified
Supreme Court member in history,
the recipient of more than 60,000
pieces of hate mail in the past two
For years, the court appeared on
the verge ofoverturning Roe vs. Wade
and letting states outlaw abortion once
But a ruling last year reaffirmed
women's constitutional right to end
their pregnancies should they choose
to do so.
"I think it's now a settled issue
with this court," Blackmun said of the
"There isn't the same emotional
reaction there once was among the
justices. We've weathered the storm."
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, considered
a strong supporter of a right to abor-
tion, has joined the court since last
And any successor to Blackmun
chosen by President Clinton is likely
to hold similar views.
Blackmun, the court's seniormem-
ber, hascontemplatedand talkedabout
Now his three daughters are lob-
bying him to leave the life-tenure job
he's held since 1970 and move to
He returns to Rochester, Minn.,
for a physical examination each sum-
mer at the Mayo Clinic, where he
served as general counsel in the 1950s.
"These days,"Blackmun said, "the
final report always begins, 'Well,
considering your age....'
Oliver Wendell Holmes didn't re-
tire until he was 90, in 1932. Chief
Justice Roger Taney died in office in
1864 at 87.
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