John Paul Stevens (April 20, 1920 – July 16, 2019) was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1975 until his voluntary retirement in 2010. At the time of his retirement, he was the second-oldest-serving justice in the history of the court and the third-longest-serving justice. At the time of his death, he was the longest lived Supreme Court justice ever. His long tenure saw him write for the court on most issues of American law, including civil liberties, death penalty, government action and intellectual property. In cases involving presidents of the United States, he wrote for the court that they were to be held accountable under American law. A registered Republican when appointed who throughout his life identified as a conservative, Stevens was considered to have been on the liberal side of the court at the time of his retirement.Born in Chicago, Stevens served in the United States Navy during World War II and graduated from Northwestern University School of Law. After clerking for Justice Wiley Blount Rutledge, he co-founded a law firm in Chicago, focusing on antitrust law. In 1970, President Richard Nixon appointed Stevens to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Five years later, President Gerald Ford successfully nominated Stevens to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement of Justice William O. Douglas. He became the senior associate justice after the retirement of Harry Blackmun in 1994. Stevens retired during the administration of President Barack Obama and was succeeded by Elena Kagan.
Stevens's majority opinions in landmark cases include Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Apprendi v. New Jersey, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Kelo v. City of New London, and Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency. Stevens is also known for his dissents in Texas v. Johnson, Bush v. Gore, District of Columbia v. Heller, and Citizens United v. FEC.