Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens received the Presidential Medal of Freedom award from President Barack Obama on Wednesday. Obama cited Justice Stevens’s “signature style: modest, insightful, well-prepared, razor-sharp.”
The president continued, according to a Wall Street Journal blog post:
“He is the third-longest serving justice in the history of the court. And Justice Stevens applied, throughout his career, his clear and graceful manner to the defense of individual rights and the rule of law, always favoring a pragmatic solution over an ideological one. Ever humble, he would happily comply when unsuspecting tourists asked him to take their picture in front of the court. And at his vacation home in Florida, he was John from Arlington, better known for his world-class bridge game than his world-changing judicial opinions. Even in his final days on the bench, Justice Stevens insisted he was still ‘learning on the job.’ But in the end, we are the ones who have learned from him.”
Justice Stevens, 92, retired in 2010. A formal citation said he “dedicated his long and distinguished tenure to applying our Constitution with fidelity and independence. His integrity, humility, and steadfast commitment to the rule of law have fortified the noble vision of our nation’s founders.”
Others who received the award included Bob Dylan, Toni Morrison and John Glenn.