VP-elect Biden Chooses Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens To Swear Him In

01/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

According to The Legal Times, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the oldest and longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, will swear in VP-Elect Joseph Biden as Vice President next month on Innauguration Day.

Vigorous and sharp at 88, he has served on the court for 32 years. In criminal-law and death-penalty cases, Stevens has voted against the government and in favor of the individual more frequently than any other sitting justice.

He files more dissents and separate opinions than any of his colleagues. He is the court's most outspoken defender of the need for judicial oversight of executive power. And in recent years, he has written majority opinions in two of the most important cases ruling against the Bush Administration's treatment of suspected enemy combatants in the war on terror -- an issue the court is revisiting this term when it hears appeals by Guantánamo detainees, challenging their lack of access to federal courts.

Justice Stevens was named to the Court in 1975 by President Gerald Ford. It is rare for a Vice President to be sworn in by a justice appointed by a president of the opposite party, so VP-elect Biden's choice to have Stevens swear him in can be seen as a bipartisan gesture -- though Justice Stevens is usually regarded as one of the most liberal justices on the Court.

According to family members and former law clerks, Justice Stevens still writes the first draft of his opinions. He uses the Internet, studied French before a recent vacation in Europe, and has become hooked on Sudoku number puzzles.

In addition, Stevens has survived prostate cancer, and had a bypass heart operation in the 1970s. Since then he's followed a low-fat diet, eating only a grapefruit for lunch.