WASHINGTON (CBS) — The Supreme Court says former Justice John Paul Stevens, a leading liberal, has died at age 99.
The cause of his death was complications from a stroke he suffered on Monday, the court said in a statement.
Stevens was born in Chicago and graduated from Northwestern University Law School. He grew up in Hyde Park and received and English degree from the University Of Chicago. He joined the Navy one day before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He returned from the war to attend Northwestern.
Stevens, who worked has an antitrust lawyer, was appointed by President Ford and served on the court from 1975 until his retirement in 2010. Only two other justices have served longer terms in the court’s history.
Stevens was considered a moderate when Ford nominated him. On the Supreme Court he became known as an independent thinker and a voice for ordinary people against powerful interests.
Stevens attended Game 4 of the Chicago Cubs World Series in 2016. Wearing a Cubs jacket and bow tie, Stevens told CBS 2 about “the unhappiest day of my life” when he sat behind home plate during Game 2 of the 1929 World Series against the Philadelphia Athletics and watched 13 Cubs strike out. The Cubs lost that series 4-1.
Stevens wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that a repeal would weaken the National Rifle Association’s ability to “block constructive gun control legislation” and be a more “effective and more lasting reform.”
Upon his retirement at age 90, he was the second-oldest justice in the high court’s history.
Initially, many of his opinions leaned conservative, but later he became more liberal.
Landmark issues on which he wrote opinions included the death penalty, government regulation and civil liberties.
In 2000, he wrote a dissenting opinion in Bush v. Gore, objecting the the halt of the recount in Florida, giving Bush the presidency.
“Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”