This decision also overturned the Please v Ferguson decision of 1896.
But how will Stevens vote in the most closely watched cases that the Court has already accepted for review?
Several of them involve subjects about which he has expressed strong opinions in the past. New York State Board of Elections, a case to be argued during the first week in October, for example, the Court will decide whether New York's method of electing state trial judges violates the First Amendment.
Although the Court has split along unexpected ideological lines in cases involving federal sentencing, Stevens's views seem relatively clear.
In a 1994 case, Stevens was the only dissenter from a case in which he objected strongly to the fact that "the brunt of the elevated federal penalties" falls disproportionately on blacks, who use crack cocaine more frequently than powder cocaine.