John Paul Stevens

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Stevens, John Paul,

1920–2019, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1975–2010). After receiving his law degree from Northwestern Univ. (1947), he clerked with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge (1947–48). After many years of private practice in Chicago, he was named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 1970. In 1975, President FordFord, Gerald Rudolph,
1913–2006, 38th president of the United States (1974–77), b. Omaha, Nebr. He was originally named Leslie Lynch King, Jr., but his parents were divorced when he was two, and when his mother remarried he assumed the name of his stepfather.
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 named him to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a justice, he initially was allied with neither the liberal nor the conservative wings of the court, maintaining a moderate and independent voting record. The replacement of liberal justices by more conservative appointees and changes in his legal philosophy, however, made the long-serving Stevens one of the more liberal members of the court by the 1990s. He wrote Five Chiefs (2011) and Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution (2014).


See his autobiography (2019); biography by B. Barnhart and G. Schlickman (2010); C. E. Smith, John Paul Stevens: Defender of Rights in Criminal Justice (2015), R. Ditmer, Justice John Paul Stevens Dissents (2016) and Justice John Paul Stevens Decisions (2019).

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Stevens, John Paul

(1920–  ) Supreme Court justice; born in Chicago. After several years in private practice, he was named by President Nixon to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit (1970–75). President Ford named him to the U.S. Supreme Court (1975) where he became known as a moderate.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.