Retired Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Paul Stevens, a moderate Republican, died in a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Tuesday. He was 99 years old.
Stevens died of complications from a stroke he suffered a day before his death, according to the Supreme Court. He was the third longest-serving justice in the U.S., after William O. Douglas, who was replaced by Stevens in 1975, and Stephen J. Field, who served for a majority of the late 19th century after being nominated by former President Abraham Lincoln.
“He passed away peacefully with his daughters by his side,” the Supreme court said, adding that Steven is survived by his children, Elizabeth Jane Sesemann (Craig) and Susan Roberta Mullen (Kevin), as well as his nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
After being nominated by former President Gerald Ford in 1975, Stevens served in the Supreme Court for 35 years. He retired in 2010. During his tenure, Stevens saw seven different presidents and three chief justices.
“On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice John Paul Stevens has passed away. A son of the Midwest heartland and a veteran of World War II, Justice Stevens devoted his long life to public service, including 53 years on the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. said. “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,” Roberts added.
Stevens, who was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 20, 1920, served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945, before then going on to become a law clerk to former Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge during the 1947 Term. Two years later, Stevens was admitted to practice law in Illinois.
Last year, Stevens made headlines after he weighed in on the controversial debate over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by multiple women. At the time, Stevens said Kavanaugh’s conduct during his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee should have disqualified him from the position.
Although Stevens said he once thought Kavanaugh “had the qualifications” for the job, he noted that his “performance in the hearings changed my mind.”
Funeral plans for Stevens will be released by the Supreme Court in the coming days.