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John Paul Stevens, a Cautious Jurist, Named to Supreme Court

April 10, 2010 | 10:36 am

Dec. 19, 1975, John Paul Stevens

Dec. 19, 1975: President Gerald Ford chats with Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger, center, after John Paul Stevens, right, was sworn in as the court’s newest member. 

Dec. 20, 1975, Justice John Paul Stevens

Dec. 20, 1975: The Times’ Linda Mathews covers Senate confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee John Paul Stevens.

“Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), another member of the Judiciary Committee, grew visibly frustrated at his inability to elicit from the taciturn Stevens his opinions about a range of constitutional issues. Finally, when Stevens answered a particularly convoluted question with a simple 'No,' Kennedy exploded. 

“ 'No?' Kennedy said. 'That's all you have to say? Well that's the most precise answer I've gotten from you.'

“Ignoring Kennedy's sarcasm, Stevens remained genial. 'Well, that's the most precise question I've been asked,' he told Kennedy."

Dec. 20, 1975, Justice John Paul Stevens

Dec. 20. 1975, Justice John Paul Stevens