Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies at 99

Former U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens passed away this week, he was 99. He retired from the court in 2010, as the second oldest justice in the court's history. (Source: U.S. Supreme Court website)
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Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has died at age 99, a SCOTUS spokesperson confirmed to CBS News.

Stevens served on the Supreme Court for nearly 35 years and became its leading liberal. Stevens was appointed to the court by President Gerald Ford in 1975 and retired on June 29, 2010 at age 90. When he retired he was the second oldest justice in the court's history.

His 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.

Born April 20, 1920 in Chicago, his biography on the U.S. Supreme Court website said he got his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. Stevens also served in the U.S. Navy from 1942–1945.

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

President Barack Obama appointed Elena Kagan to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court.