Anthony Kennedy

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Justice Anthony Kennedy
For other people of the same name, see Anthony Kennedy (disambiguation).

Justice Anthony McLeod Kennedy (born July 23, 1936) has been an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1988.

Kennedy was born in Sacramento, California. He married Mary Davis and has three children. He has no relation to the famous Kennedy family of American politics.

He received his B.A. from Stanford University and the London School of Economics, and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He was in private practice in San Francisco, California from 1961-1963, as well as in Sacramento, California from 1963-1975. From 1965 to 1988, he was a Professor of Constitutional Law at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific.

He has served in numerous positions during his career, including the California Army National Guard in 1961 and the board of the Federal Judicial Center from 1987-1988. He also served on two committees of the Judicial Conference of the United States: the Advisory Panel on Financial Disclosure Reports and Judicial Activities (subsequently renamed the Advisory Committee on Codes of Conduct) from 1979-1987, and the Committee on Pacific Territories from 1979-1990, which he chaired from 1982-1990. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by President Ford in 1975.

In 1987, Associate Justice Lewis Powell retired. President Reagan first nominated Robert Bork to replace him. Bork was viewed as too conservative by the Democratic Senate, and his nomination was not confirmed. Reagan then nominated Douglas H. Ginsburg, but he withdrew his name when allegation arose that he once smoked marijuana. Finally, Reagan nominated Kennedy as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat February 18, 1988.

A moderate conservative, Justice Kennedy represents the deciding vote on many Constitutional issues with Justice O'Connor. He has generally supported the right to personal privacy as against the state's police power: in 2003, he sided with the more liberal members of the Court in Lawrence v. Texas. Writing for the Court, Kennedy invalidated the criminal prohibitions against homosexual sodomy under the United States Constitution in an opinion filled with passionate rhetoric. Kennedy had previously written the Court's opinion invalidating a provision in the Colorado Constitution denying homosexuals the right to bring local discrimination claims, and had joined O'Connor and David Souter in a plurality opinion in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which re-affirmed the Roe v. Wade decision recognizing the right to abortion.

On the other hand, Kennedy has joined with Court majorities in decisions favoring states' rights and capital punishment and invalidating federal and state affirmative action programs.

In April 2005, the conservative Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration held a conference where several speakers advocated Kennedy's impeachment and supported John Cornyn's comments about violence against judges. One of the speakers, a conservative lawyer and author named Edwin Vieira, said that his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from a statement by Joseph Stalin: "Death solves all problems: No man, no problem." A few days later, Kennedy and Clarence Thomas submitted budget request to Congress, that included $639,000 for eleven new officers to patrol around the court with one officer assessing threats made against Supreme Court justices, according to The Guardian[1] (,1282,-4932585,00.html)

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Preceded by:
Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr.
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
February 18, 1988 – present (a)
Succeeded by:

Template:Succession footnote Template:End box



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