John Paul Stevens

Jurist / U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Born: 20 April 1920
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Best known as: Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1975-2010

John Paul Stevens served 35 years on the United States Supreme Court from 1975-2012. An Illinois native from a well-to-do family, John Paul Stevens earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago (1941), and his law degree from Northwestern University (1947). In between he was in the U.S. Navy (1942-45), working for the intelligence branch during World War II. Stevens had a stellar career as an antitrust lawyer before being appointed by President Richard Nixon to the U.S. Court of Appeals (7th Circuit) in 1970. When President Gerald Ford appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1975, Stevens was considered a moderate conservative. Over the years he earned a reputation as a frequent dissenter, and as the court changed he became known as a moderate liberal. John Paul Stevens retired from the court in the summer of 2010 at age 90. He was replaced by Elena Kagan.

Extra credit:

John Paul Stevens is sometimes credited with helping to break the code that led to the downing of Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in World War II, but he has denied any role, other than to say that he was on watch when word came through of the operation’s success.

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