U.S. (CBS) — Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who was appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975 as a moderate but later became a leading liberal voice, has died, the Supreme Court said Tuesday. He was 99.
The cause of death was complications from a stroke he suffered on Monday, the Supreme Court said. His daughters were by his side at the time of his death.
“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,” said Chief Justice John Roberts in a statement.
Stevens served on the Supreme Court until he retired at the age of 90 in 2010. Upon his retirement, former President Obama praised him as an “impartial guardian of the law” who served the nation with “honor and humility.”
Mr. Obama said at the time he wanted to appoint a justice who possessed, like Stevens, “an independent mind, a record of excellence and integrity, a fierce dedication to the rule of law, and a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people.”
Mr. Obama ultimately chose Justice Elena Kagan as Stevens’ replacement.
In nearly 35 years on the Supreme Court, Stevens became increasingly liberal. After his retirement in 2010, he told “60 Minutes” that the justices who ruled in the majority on the case who decided the 2000 election were “profoundly wrong.”
In his retirement, he made headlines for calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment and saying Justice Brett Kavanaugh should not be confirmed.
“At that time, I thought (Kavanaugh) had the qualifications for the Supreme Court should he be selected,” Stevens said in October 2018. “I’ve changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability…I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind.”