Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has passed away, TMZ reports. Stevens, the third-longest serving justice in History, was 99. During his tenure on the bench, Justice Stevens weighed in on several landmark cases.
According to a press release from the Supreme Court’s Office of Public Information, Stevens died at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, following complications from a stroke he suffered the day prior. A widow at the time of his passing — Stevens’ wife, Maryan Mulholland Simon, died in 2015 — he is said to have died “peacefully, with his daughters by his side.”
Stevens was nominated for the bench in 1975 by President Gerald Ford. Like all Supreme Court justices, he was given a lifetime appointment. Stevens chose to retire in 2010 during the first term of President Barack Obama; he was succeeded by Justice Elena Kagan. Obama presented Stevens with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, in 2012.
Prior to ascending to the role of associate justice on the nation’s highest court, Stevens served as an appellate judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, an appointment he received in 1970 from President Richard Nixon. Stevens was a registered Republican, having received his appointments from Republican presidents — but was long considered a liberal voice in the Supreme Court chambers. As HuffPost reported a the time, Vice President-elect Joe Biden asked Stevens to swear him in when he took the oath of office in January 2009.
Prominent figures have taken to social media to share their condolences following Stevens’ passing.
Journalist Dan Rather tweeted that Stevens was “a passionate voice for justice” with a “tireless and deeply-held belief in a broad vision of the American story.”
“From breaking codes in World War II to breaking down barriers for civil rights, Justice John Paul Stevens lived up to those words above the Court: Equal Justice Under Law. Our nation was better for his service and we mourn his loss,” Sen. Kamala Harris said on Twitter.
Breaking News: John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court justice who transformed from a Republican lawyer to a champion of the left, has died. He was 99. https://t.co/UgSYfAOrdG— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 17, 2019
“On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice John Paul Stevens has passed away,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in the Supreme Court’s official press release. “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. We extend our deepest condolences to his children Elizabeth and Susan, and to his extended family.”