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John Paul Stevens was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1975 to 2010.
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Stevens thought it was "better to have her decide these questions with her own counselors and guidance than to have judges and legislators deciding something like this." During his long tenure on the court, Stevens became a strong opponent of the death penalty. He announced in 2008 that he thought that capital punishment was, in fact, unconstitutional.
As a member of the court, Stevens influenced the world of politics as well. In 1997, he wrote the majority opinion that allowed lawyers for Paula Jones to depose President Bill Clinton for her lawsuit against him while he was still in office. And Stevens objected to the court's ruling in the 2000 election-deciding case of Bush v. Gore. The court overturned the Florida Supreme Court's decision to order a recount of all of the state's ballots. Joined by David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, Stevens wrote that, "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law. I respectfully dissent."
Stevens retired from the court in June 2010 at the age of 90. To honor him on his last day in court, many of his colleagues wore bowties—the retiring justice's neckwear of choice. He has three daughters from his first marriage to Elizabeth Jane Sheeren. The couple also had a son who died in 1996. In 1979, Stevens married his second wife Maryan Mulholland Simon.
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