Transcript for Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies at 99
Now to breaking news overnight, former supreme court justice John Paul Stevens passing away on Tuesday at 99 years old. Our senior national correspondent Terry Moran who covered the court while Stevens was on the bench has a look at his life and legacy, good morning, Terry. Reporter: Good morning, robin. John Paul Stevens was considered a liberal in his later year, you about he started out more on the conservative side. He liked to say he didn't move, the court did but through it all, through this remarkable life in American law, John Paul Stevens was a brilliant jurist whose kindness and courtesy helped set the tone for many years and a deeply but quietly patriotic American. This morning, the nation is celebrating the life of retired supreme court justice John Paul Stevens who died in ft. Lauderdale after suffering a stroke on July 15th, was named to the court by president Gerald Ford back in 1975. Times were different. Stevens was confirmed by the senate 98-0. Can't imagine that kind of bipartisanship today. He was the third longest serving justice in our history, 35 years, up until 11 days before his 90th birthday in 2010 replaced by Elena Kagan. In a statement for the court chief justice Roberts said he brought to our bench an inmichele blend of kindness, humility. He was considered a liberal firebrand by the time he left. He passionately opposed the idea that the first amendment protects flag burning and early on found the death penalty constitutional. But he did change his mind on that sides with liberal justices concluding capital punishment is unconstitutional. Stevens spoke about his decision in a $2014 with George Stephanopoulos. You would define it basically as cruel and unusual punishment. Yes, I would think the sooner we get rid of the death penalty, the better it would be. Reporter: He also became a reliably liberal vite on abortion, education and the separation of church and state. He was fierce in dissent never more that in bush versus gore writing he feared the decision in that top to stop the Florida recount would undermine the nation's confidence in the courts, an opinion he never let go of writing in his memoir that came out earlier this year, I remain of the view that the court has not fully recovered from the damage it inflicted on itself. And overnight the tributes are pouring in. The president and first lady sending their condolences in this statement adding the retired justice was known for his humility, legal acumen and afkz for his beloved Chicago cubs. His work over the course nearly 35 years on the supreme court will continue to shape the legal framework of our nation for years to come. The Chicago cubs posting to Twitter honoring the Chicago native and cubs fan. Is there one decision you're most proud of. I really don't know the answer because there are a lot of them that I am quite proud of and there are others I'm sure I could have done better on. All I can say is I did the best I could. Reporter: Stevens was a man from another time. As a boy he met Amelia earhart and saw babe Ruth call his shot in the 1932 world series against the cubs. He was really a man who was much beloved by his colleagues and he will be missed up here, robin. Such humility. He led such a full life and was even active after retirement, Terry. Reporter: He really was. It was remarkable. He was playing doubles tennis up until a couple of years ago hiring clerks every year. Through his 100th year he won't be able to do that but wrote a memoir this year and remained actively calling for the repeal of the second amendment and criticizing president trump. He never stopped right up until the end. All right, Terry, thank you so much. You mentioned the justice's humility. He was humble but in that question he was responding to a letter that Gerald R. Ford who appointed him wrote said I'm prepared to allow his tremendous's judgment to rest if necessary exclusively on my nomination 30 years ago of justice John Paul Stevens to the supreme court. Wow. He was so proud of that. Rightfully so. Great.
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