PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 28: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens answers a question posed by Brooke Gladstone (not shown), Host and Managing Editor of National Public Radio newsmagazine at the National Constitution Center April 28 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Stevens discussed his new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies
03:31 - Source: CNN

Here’s a look at the life of the late US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.


Birth date: April 20, 1920

Death date: July 16, 2019

Birth place: Chicago, Illinois

Birth name: John Paul Stevens

Father: Ernest James Stevens, hotelier

Mother: Elizabeth (Street) Stevens

Marriages: Maryan (Mulholland) Stevens (December 1979-August 7, 2015, her death); Elizabeth Jane (Sheeren) Stevens (June 7, 1942-1979, divorced)

Children: with Elizabeth Jane (Sheeren) Stevens: John Joseph (died in 1996), Kathryn, Elizabeth, Susan

Education: University of Chicago, A.B., 1941; Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., 1947

Military Service: US Navy, 1942-1945, awarded the Bronze Star

Other Facts

Stated he regretted one vote, his 1976 opinion to uphold the death penalty in Gregg v. Georgia.

Was partial to bow ties and enjoyed flying, competitive bridge and tennis.

Longtime Chicago Cubs fan.

Was the last Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed without televised hearings.

A lifelong Republican, but was considered liberal in his judicial rulings.

Authored approximately 400 majority opinions.


1947-1948 - Law clerk to US Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge.

1949 - Admitted to the Illinois Bar.

1949-1952 - Associate at Poppenhusen, Johnston, Thompson and Raymond.

1951 - Associate counsel for the Subcommittee on the Study of Monopoly Power of the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives.

1952-1970 - Partner at Rothschild, Stevens, Barry and Myers.

1953-1955 - Member of the National Committee to Study Antitrust Laws.

1969 - Appointed chief counsel to the special commission to investigate the integrity of the judgment of People v. Isaacs, Illinois Supreme Court.

1970-1975 - Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

December 19, 1975 - Is sworn in to the Supreme Court, appointed by President Gerald Ford.

December 12, 2000 - Writes the dissenting opinion in Bush v. Gore.

June 29, 2006 - Authors the majority opinion in Rasul et al v. Bush, deciding the Guantánamo detainees must have a court-martial.

April 9, 2010 - Stevens’ retirement is announced and becomes effective June 29, 2010.

May 29, 2012 - Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

2014 - His book, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution,” is published. The book addresses the anti-commandeering rule, political gerrymandering, campaign finance, sovereign immunity, the death penalty and the second amendment.

May 4, 2015 - Speaking before a meeting of the group Lawyers for Civil Justice in Washington, Stevens says that some Guantánamo Bay detainees should be given reparations because “detainees who have been deemed not a security threat to the United States and have thereafter remained in custody for years are differently situated.”

March 27, 2018 - Writes in an op-ed published in The New York Times that students and others demonstrating for gun control should seek a repeal of the Second Amendment. This “would do more to weaken the NRA’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option,” he writes.

November 26, 2018 - The New York Times publishes an interview with Stevens in which he says that he decided to step down from the court after a “mini-stroke” during his dissent in the Citizens United case.

May 9, 2019 - Accuses President Donald Trump of exceeding his presidential powers in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the president “has to comply with subpoenas.” The President is “exercising powers that do not really belong to him,” Stevens adds.

July 16, 2019 - Passes away at the age of 99, from complications following a stroke he suffered on July 15.