Former Supreme Court Justice and Navy veteran John Paul Stevens

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Navy veteran and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies

July 16, 2019 - 9:05 pm

John Paul Stevens, who served on the Supreme Court for nearly 35 years and became its leading liberal, has died. He was 99.

Before becoming a Supreme Court Justice Stevens joined the Navy. He enlisted the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Serving as an  intelligence officer in the Pacific Theater he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in the codebreaking team whose work led to the downing of Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's plane in 1943.

Stevens' influence was felt on issues including abortion rights, protecting consumers and placing limits on the death penalty. He led the high court's decision to allow terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay to plead for their freedom in U.S. courts.

As a federal appeals court judge in Chicago, Stevens was considered a moderate when Republican President Gerald Ford nominated him. On the Supreme Court he became known as an independent thinker and a voice for ordinary people against powerful interests.

He retired in June 2010 at age 90, the second oldest justice in the court's history.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.