Anthony M. Kennedy



  • Honor student in high school
  • Went to Stanford University, became heavily interested in constitutional law (1954)
    • Completed graduation requirement in three years
  • Attending London School of Economics for a year
  • Then got his bachelor’s in political science from Stanford (1958)
  • Attended Harvard Law School and graduated cum laude (1961)


  • Served a year in the California National Guard (1961-62)
  • After passing bar exam, began practicing law (1962)
  • Father died in ‘63, took over the law practice
  • Became professor of constitutional law at University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law (1963-88)
  • 1974, appointed to US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; became leader of conservative minority during Carter administration

Public Service

  • California National Guard

Religious Background

  • Roman Catholic

Political orientation

  • Mainly conservative (sort of)
    • Usually conservative, but doesn't use sweeping rhetoric
    • Goes case by case and keeps his opinions narrow

Judicial Ideology

  • Restraintist - Felt that activist courts were courts that made decisions you don’t like

Significant Cases

  • Roe v. Wade - Swing Vote passing it, abortion is allowed, woman’s right to choose
    Does the Constitution embrace a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion?
  • Bush v. Gore - Don’t change Florida Law
    Did the Florida Supreme Court violate Article II Section 1 Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution by making new election law? Do standardless manual recounts violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Constitution?