The legal and political worlds in America were saddened on Tuesday when news spread of the death of a revered former associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Retired Justice John Paul Stevens was pronounced dead at age 99 due to complications from a stroke he suffered the previous day, the Supreme Court announced.
A statement released by the U.S. Supreme Court noted that Stevens died at a hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with his two surviving daughters by his side.
Stevens was preceded in death by two wives, a son, and a daughter. He is survived by his other two daughters and nine grandchildren. There is no word yet on funeral arrangements for the beloved jurist.
“On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice John Paul Stevens has passed away,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in the statement.
“A son of the Midwest heartland and a veteran of World War II, Justice Stevens devoted his long life to public service, including 35 years on the Supreme Court. He brought to our bench an inimitable blend of kindness, humility, wisdom, and independence.”
“His unrelenting commitment to justice has left us a better nation. We extend our deepest condolences to his children Elizabeth and Susan, and to his extended family,” Roberts added.
Lifetime of service
Stevens was born in Chicago in 1920 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Following the war, he went to college and eventually became a lawyer who served in a legal capacity with a House committee and with the U.S. Attorney General’s office in the 1950s.
In 1970, Stevens was appointed by former Republican President Richard Nixon to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and in 1975 was nominated for the Supreme Court by former Republican President Gerald Ford. Stevens first worked at the Supreme Court in 1947 as a clerk for Justice Wiley Rutledge.
Justice Stevens served on the high court for 35 years until he suffered a minor stroke in 2010 and retired shortly thereafter. He was replaced on the bench by Justice Elena Kagan, nominated by former Democrat President Barack Obama.
Though remembered by many for his sharp legal mind, his overarching legacy will be his transition over time from a moderate Republican jurist to one who more often than not sided with his liberal colleagues on many important issues, so much so that he had become revered as something of a hero by the progressive left.
The late jurist will no doubt be sorely missed by his surviving family and friends.