Former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday at the age of 99. During Stevens’ tenure on the high court, which stretched from 1975 to 2010, Stevens had a huge impact on legal issues affecting the technology sector. Tonight we’re republishing a lightly edited version of our 2010 story that originally marked his retirement from the Supreme Court.
In April 2010, the Supreme Court’s most senior justice, John Paul Stevens, announced his retirement. In the weeks that followed, hundreds of articles were written about his career and his legacy. While most articles focus on “hot button” issues such as flag burning, terrorism, and affirmative action, Stevens’ tech policy record has largely been ignored.
When Justice Stevens joined the court, many of the technologies we now take for granted—the PC, packet-switched networks, home video recording—were in their infancy. During his 35-year tenure on the bench, Stevens penned decisions that laid the foundation for the tremendous innovations that followed in each of these areas.