John Paul Stevens, the third-longest-serving justice in the history of the Supreme Court, has died at 99, a Supreme Court official said Tuesday.
No date or cause of death was immediately reported. Stevens had served on the court for 35 years when he retired in 2010.
Stevens was a prominent antitrust lawyer in Chicago when President Richard Nixon successfully nominated him to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1970. In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford nominated Stevens to succeed Justice William O. Douglas, who had retired; the Senate confirmed him to the court on a 98-0 vote.
Stevens, a registered Republican earlier in his life, declined to discuss his politics once he reached the court.
At first, he was perceived to be a moderate conservative — he voted to allow the reinstatement of capital punishment nationwide — but as the court moved right over time, he emerged as a de facto leader of the court’s so-called liberal wing, supporting a strict separation of church and state and strong enforcement of laws to protect civil rights and the environment.
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