John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is an American jurist, and the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He joined the Court in 1975 and is the oldest and longest serving incumbent member of the Court. Although he was appointed to the court by a Republican President, Gerald R. Ford, Stevens is widely regarded as the anchor of the Court’s liberal wing.
President Gerald Ford then nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1975 to replace Justice William O. Douglas, who had recently retired, and he took his seat December 19, 1975, after being confirmed 98-0 by the Senate. Even though Justice Stevens is 87 years old, he has not shown any hints of opting for retirement.
Early in his tenure on the Supreme Court Stevens had a moderate voting record. He voted to reinstate capital punishment in the United States and opposed the affirmative action program at issue in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. But on the more conservative Rehnquist Court, Stevens tended to side with the more liberal-leaning Justices on issues such as abortion rights, gay rights and federalism. His Segal-Cover score, a measure of liberalism/conservatism of Court members, places him squarely in the ideological center of the Court. A 2003 statistical analysis of Supreme Court voting patterns, however, found Stevens the most liberal member of the Court.
Stevens has drawn criticism from some on the right, who point to him as one of a number of justices (Justice Souter being another) who were appointed by a Republican president yet moved more and more towards the left as the years passed.
“John Paul Stevens.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 1 May 2007, 20:37 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 1 May 2007