Former United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday at the age of 99 after suffering complications from a stroke.
Stevens was the third longest-serving Supreme Court justice in the court’s history, appointed in 1975 by President Gerald Ford. He retired in 2010 at the age of 90, but never slowed down, writing two books after his retirement: “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution” and “Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir.”
Here are five things to know about Stevens:
1. Justice John Paul Stevens was a registered Republican when he was appointed to the Supreme Court by a Republican president, but eventually he emerged as the leader of the panel’s liberal wing, a position he held until his retirement in 2010.
2. He was born on April 20, 1920, in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood to one of the city's wealthiest families, whose business empire included what was then the world's largest hotel, according to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School. The Stevens Hotel was eventually bought by Hilton Hotels and is now the Chicago Hilton and Towers.
3. Stevens suffered through a family tragedy when he was a teenager. His father, Ernest Stevens; his uncle Raymond Stevens; and his grandfather, J.W. Stevens, were indicted in 1933 on embezzlement charges, according to news reports. The stress reportedly caused J.W. Stevens to suffer a stroke and Raymond Stevens to commit suicide. His father was acquitted of the charges, but the family business and hotel were lost in the aftermath.
4. Stevens graduated from the University of Chicago and eventually from Northwestern Law School. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II and served as a codebreaker, earning a Bronze Star, according to the Legal Information Institute. He used money from the G.I. Bill to attend law school
5. Stevens was married twice. He married Elizabeth Jane Shereen in 1942 and they had four children: John Joseph, Kathryn, Elizabeth and Susan. The Stevens divorced in 1979. Stevens and Maryan Mulholland Simon married in December 1979. She died in 2015 at the age of 84, according to The Washington Post. His son, John Joseph, died of cancer in 1996.
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