U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Stevens Announces His Retirement


The oldest and among the longest-serving members of the U.S. Supreme Court sent a letter to the White House announcing his retirement today.

He will work through the end of the term, according to the letter (PDF).

Justice John Paul Stevens was nominated to the nation’s highest court by President Gerald R. Ford in 1975 and known as a leading dissenter.

Born in Chicago on April 20, 1920, the youngest of four sons of a well-to-do family in the Hyde Park neighborhood, Stevens earned his bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Chicago, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1941.

In 1947, he graduated first in his class in Northwestern University School of Law. He was co editor-in-chief of the school’s law review, and earned the highest grades in Northwestern’s history.

Meanwhile, Stevens enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving from 1942 to 1945 and earning the Bronze Star. He reportedly was part of a code-breaking team.

After clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge during the 1947-1948 term, Stevens worked as an antitrust lawyer in Chicago for 20 years. He also taught at both the U of C and Northwestern during the 1950s, and served as counsel to federal committees on antitrust law. In 1970, he was appointed to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals bench by President Richard M. Nixon.

More about Justice Stevens in the ABA Journal:

Man of Moderation: Last justice of the ‘Greatest Generation,’ the gentlemanly John Paul Stevens says farewell

Practical Meaning: As the Court Shifted Right, Stevens Kept His Place

Gallery of Stevens’ Top Cases

Podcast: David Lat, Eugene Volokh & Joseph Thai on Front-runners & Dark Horses to Replace Stevens

Who Will Replace Stevens? Three Likely Picks Emerge, as Others Engage in ‘Bizarro’ Speculation

Also See:

U.S. Supreme Court: News release.

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