A “mini-stroke” prompted Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to retire from the bench in 2010, he revealed in an interview published in The New York Times on Monday.
In his forthcoming memoir The Making of a Justice, slated for release in May 2019, Stevens wrote that he decided to step down from the high court the day he delivered his dissent on the Citizens United decision.
After stumbling over his words, he discovered later that day that he had suffered a “mini” medical emergency.
“That was it,” Stevens, 98, told the Times. “I made the decision that day. After I went to see the doctor, I sent a letter to the president right away.”
Stevens holds the record for third-longest-serving Supreme Court justice in history, having sat on the bench for nearly 35 years before retiring in June 2010.
In his interview with the Times, the liberal-leaning Navy veteran opened up about what he considers to be the court’s most significant “errors” during his tenure ― all decisions he had dissented against.
The first mistake he listed was the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller ruling, which protects an individual’s right to possess firearms. The second, he said, was the Citizens United decision in 2010, which allows a relatively small group of wealthy individuals and corporations to have a large influence on politics.
Finally, Stevens condemned the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision that sealed Bush’s victory in the presidential election.
“It was really a disgrace,” Stevens told the Times of the decision.
Head over to The New York Times to read the full interview.