Anthony Kennedy

Matthew Koenig, Connor Holton


Anthony Kennedy grew up in Sacramento, California. His father was a well established lawyer and lobbyist for various California businesses. Kennedy attended Stanford University as an undergraduate and spent his last year at the London School of Economics and earned his A.B. Afterwards, Kennedy enrolled in Harvard Law School where he graduated cum laude. When Kennedy's father died two years after his graduation, he returned to California to take over his father's law practice.

Kennedy performed well in his father's law practice and soon became friends with the influential California politicians. Kennedy donated large sums of money to these people and several other officials in the state. In 1966, Kennedy left to work for then Governor Reagan. As a result, Reagan would recommend him to Gerald Ford for vacancy in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th circuit. Years later in 1987, Kennedy was considered by Reagan for supreme court nomination. Reagan's first nomination was Robert Bork but after Bork faced severe opposition in the Senate and failed to win, Reagan turned to Kennedy to fill the seat. Kennedy tends to take a conservative side on crime issues and very unwavering in his beliefs. On other issues, Kennedy takes a more liberal side and is often the swing vote.


Justice Kennedy’s judicial ideology is quite unique. He is typically defined as a conservative justice, but his ideals sometimes mix with liberal ones. Kennedy’s centrist view on situations is what gives him renown with both conservatives and liberals alike, as well as tie the court together and bridge parties. Kennedy looks at cases individually, rather than referring them to a standing judicial ideology. His views are his own and are not always that of his party, even if he was sworn in by a republican president.

Significant Cases

Planned Parenthood v. Casey(1992)

Agreed on the plurality option and reaffirmed the principles outlined in Roe v. Wade. Reportedly considered overturning Roe but in the end upheld the restrictions.

Boy Scouts of America v. Dale(2000)

Kennedy voted to uphold the Boy Scouts' ban on homosexuals from being scoutmasters.

Romer v. Evans (1996)

Invalidated the portion of the Colorado Constitution denying homosexuals the right to bring up discrimination cases.

Kennedy v. Louisiana(2008)

Held that the 8th amendment keeps Louisiana from imposing the death penalty when the crime was not intended to result in the victim's death.

District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)

Ended the ban on handguns in District of Columbia. Kennedy sided with conservatives, saying that the 2nd amendment protects individual's right to keep guns.

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