WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday morning praised the late former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens as a “true guardian of the Constitution.”
“Justice Stevens was a true guardian of the Constitution. He made history not only as one of the longest-serving Justices, but as one of its finest. Despite being nominated by a Republican president, he leaves behind a legacy of progressive rulings that have transformed countless lives and helped build a fairer and more just future for all Americans. His support for the Court’s decisions on habeas corpus and detainees held at Guantanamo Bay honored his lifelong belief that America must always strive to live up to its fundamental values, even in times of crisis. In his dissents, Justice Stevens wrote eloquently of American peoples’ ability, under our Constitution, to protect our democracy with commonsense campaign finance reform, as well as our communities with responsible gun safety laws,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement.
Stevens died on Tuesday night at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hospital at age 99 of “complications following a stroke he suffered on July 15,” the court said in a statement. Daughters Elizabeth Jane Sesemann and Susan Roberta Mullen were with him at the time of his death, the statement said. Other survivors include nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. His first marriage, to Elizabeth Sheeren, ended in divorce and his second wife, Maryan Mulholland Simon, died in 2015. Two children from his first marriage predeceased him: John Joseph Stevens died in 1996 at age 47 and daughter Kathryn Jedlicka died last year, according to the Washington Post.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
President Gerald Ford appointed Stevens to the court in 1975. He served on the bench for nearly 35 years before retiring in 2010.
During his tenure Stevens was known as one of the court’s leading liberal-leaning justices.