and also generally thought to be the most liberal. And that's kind of ironic, given that he was nominated by a Republican President (Ford). My father used to say that everyone gets more conservative with age, except for Supreme Court Justices, who move in the opposite direction. I don't know if that's true in general. Stevens thinks it isn't true in his case. From an article in the New York Times last year:
“I don’t think of myself as a liberal at all,” he told me during a recent interview in his chambers, laughing and shaking his head. “I think as part of my general politics, I’m pretty darn conservative.” Stevens said that his views haven’t changed since 1975, when as a moderate Republican he was appointed by President Gerald Ford to the Supreme Court. Stevens’s judicial hero is Potter Stewart, the Republican centrist, whom Stevens has said he admires more than all of the other justices with whom he has served. He considers himself a “judicial conservative,” he said, and only appears liberal today because he has been surrounded by increasingly conservative colleagues. “Including myself,” he said, “every judge who’s been appointed to the court since Lewis Powell” — nominated by Richard Nixon in 1971 — “has been more conservative than his or her predecessor. Except maybe Justice Ginsburg. That’s bound to have an effect on the court.”
The next POTUS will nominate Stevens's replacement. Most likely the replacement for Ginsburg (she's 75) as well. With an eight year term, maybe two or more of: Scalia (71), Kennedy (72), and Breyer (70). The ultra-conservative Roberts, Thomas and Alito are all also ultra-young, as Supreme Court justices go.
This year's election will either stop the move to the right that has been happening for the past almost 40 years or entrench it for another 30 years or more. That's what's at stake.