But Stevens shows no outward signs of slowing down. He has said he will remain on the bench until he no longer writes the first drafts of his opinions. He seems as engaged as ever in the court's business, peppering lawyers with questions at oral arguments and writing opinions designed to draw support from other justices.
Last year, Ford praised Stevens in connection with a symposium at Fordham University Law School to celebrate his 30th year on the court.
Ford said in a letter to the school's dean that Stevens had "served his nation well, at all times carrying out his judicial duties with dignity, intellect and without partisan political concerns."
"Justice Stevens has made me, and our fellow citizens, proud of my three decade old decision to appoint him to the Supreme Court," Ford wrote.
Stevens had the letter framed, and it now hangs in his chambers.