Former Justice John Paul Stevens dies
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 7/17/19, 10:57 am
Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Monday after suffering a stroke. He was 99. Stevens served nearly 35 years on the high court after President Gerald Ford appointed him in 1975, making him the third-longest serving justice. “He brought to our bench an inimitable blend of kindness, humility, wisdom and independence,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. “His unrelenting commitment to justice has left us a better nation.”
Though nominated by a Republican, Stevens unexpectedly emerged as the court’s leading liberal. During his tenure, Stevens acted to limit prayer in schools and establish gay rights. He also voted to limit the death penalty and helped to defeat protections for unborn children. Stevens, who at first was considered a centrist, rejected being labeled a staunch liberal. He said it only looked that way because the court shifted to the right. When Stevens retired in 2010, he left the Supreme Court with no Protestant justices on the bench for the first time in U.S. history, and it stayed that way until President Donald Trump in 2017 appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was raised Catholic but attends an Episcopal church.
Two daughters, nine grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren survive Stevens. Funeral arrangements are pending, according to a statement released by the Supreme Court. Stevens is expected to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery next to his second wife, Maryan.
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