“I don’t think of myself as a liberal at all,” John Paul Stevens told the New York Times, but the longest-serving Supreme Court justice is the head of liberal dissent in an increasingly conservative court. Stevens was appointed by Gerald Ford as a moderate Republican in 1975, and he says every justice since has been more conservative than the last.
As senior justice, Stevens assigns writing duties for majorities or dissents whenever he and Chief Justice Roberts are on opposite sides, which happens often. Stevens uses the power shrewdly to lock in majorities, and viciously when dissenting. And at age 87, he intends to keep his job, despite the many he knows are “praying I get out of the way.”