John Paul Stevens is the senior associate justice on the United States Supreme Court, appointed in 1975 by President Gerald Ford. An Illinois native from a well-to-do family, Stevens earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago (1941), and his law degree from Northwestern University (1947). In between he was in the U.S. Navy (1942-45), working for the intelligence branch during World War II. Stevens had a stellar career as an antitrust lawyer before being appointed by President Richard Nixon to the U.S. Court of Appeals (7th Circuit) in 1970. When Ford appointed him to the Supreme Court, Stevens was considered a moderate conservative. Over the years he’s earned a reputation as a frequent dissenter, and as the court has changed he’s become known as a moderate liberal.
Justice Stevens is sometimes credited with helping to break the code that led to the downing of Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in World War II, but he denies any role, other than to say he was on watch when word came through of the operation’s success.