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John Paul Stevens

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Pristine chambers card signed by Justice Stevens

John Paul Stevens, 1920–2019.  Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, 1975–2010.  Engraved, blind-embossed 3½” x 4⅞” chambers card boldly signed John Paul Stevens.

Stevens was the only Supreme Court appointee of President Gerald R. Ford, the only President who was not elected as either President or Vice President.  On August 9, 1974, Ford succeeded to the presidency after Richard M. Nixon, who appointed him Vice President upon the resignation of Spiro T. Agnew, also resigned in scandal. 

Ford made Stevens his first and only appointment to the Supreme Court.  Stevens replaced Justice William O. Douglas, who retired after some 36 years on the Court.  Ironiclly, Ford named Douglas’s successor five years after leading the move in Congress to impeach Douglas in 1970.  The United States Senate confirmed Stevens 99–0, and Stevens assumed his position on the Supreme Court on December 19, 1975.  Stevens served 34 years, 192 days on the Court before he retired in 2010, making him the third longest-serving Justice in American history.

Stevens earned the highest grades in the history of Northwestern University School of Law.  After graduation, he served as a law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Wiley B. Rutledge.  He then returned to Illinois, where he was admitted to practice law in 1949.  His colleagues regarded him as extraordinarily capable, a lawyer with an extraordinary memory and analytical skills.  He wrote several influential works on antitrust law and periodically served as a professor of antitrust litigation at the University of Chicago and Northwestern law schools.  Nixon appointed him to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 1970, where he served as a judge for five years until his appointment to the Supreme Court.

Throughout his tenure on the Supreme Court, Stevens steered his own path, taking positions often apart from those of the other justices.  He was initially a moderate, voting to reinstate capital punishment in the United States and opposing affirmative action.  But as the Supreme Court became more conservative, Stevens more often sided with the liberals, particularly on issues such as abortion, gay rights, and federalism.  He is now considered to have been one of the more liberal justices.

This card absolutely pristine.  Stevens has signed with his distinctive signature in bright blue ballpoint pen.


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