Stevens was born in 1920 in Chicago to Ernest James and Elizabeth Stevens. He attained a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Chicago and enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
As a cryptographer, Justice Stevens assisted in breaking the code that provided the location of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese naval commander who formulated the Pearl Harbor attack. This information led U.S. pilots to Yamamoto’s position on the front where they shot down his plane in April 1943.
After the war, Stevens returned to Chicago and attained his law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1947. He held several positions in legal firms before being appointed a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 1970 to 1975. He was sworn into the Supreme Court in 1975 and would hold this position until his retirement in 2010. He served for 35 years on the Supreme Court.
During his military service, Stevens earned the Bronze Star and World War II Victory Medal. He also received the highest United States civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from former President Barack Obama.
Justice Stevens passed away July 16, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the age of 99.
We honor his service.
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Editor: Vincent Tran and Leah Comins
Graphic Design: Reynaldo Leal
Writer: Taryn Gehman