Anthony M. Kennedy

Associate Justice
By: Martin Austin and James Pattee

Education: After Kennedy graduated from high school he went straight to Stanford University from 1954-57. For one year he went to the London School of Economies from 1957-58 and graduated from Stanford U. with a A.B., earning a Phi Beta Kappa key in 1958. After Stanford, Kennedy continued his studies at Harvard Law School, graduating in 1961 with his LL.B

Law Teaching: Anthony M. Kennedy was a Professor of constitutional law at McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific from 1965 to 1988.

Law Practice: Was admitted to the California bar in 1962 and the U.S count bar in 1971, experiences in practicing as an Associate with Thelen, Marrin, John & Bridges in San Francisco, 1961-63, and taking over his father;s practice in Sacramento. Through 1967-1975 he was partner of Evans, Jackson & Kennedy in Sacramento.

Nominations: Kennedy was nominated by President Ford to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1975. In 1988 he was nominated by President Reagan as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and remains their today.

Other Offices: Served the California Army National Guard in 1961. He was part of the Harvard Faculty 1960 to 1961. Member of the Judicial Conference of the Advisory Panel of Financial Disclosure Reports and Judicial Activities from 1979 to 1987, he also served as a Committee on Pacific Territories during this time.

Ideology- Although appointed by Republican president Reagan, Kennedy does not stick to a certain ideologically. Kennedy once said "We always tried to get it right". Some scholars argue Kennedy is a libertarian while other say he does swing votes in closer decisions. Kennedy is more pragmatic and less driven by ideology. Kennedy does support adding liberty in the name of the 14th Amendment, and supports abortion. He also supports gay and gun rights, but is against capital punishment, and environmental policies.

Significant Cases-

  • Kennedy v. Louisiana (April 16th, 2008)- Court case that argued that the death penalty for rape is cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Roper v. Simmons (October 13th, 2004)- Court Case that dealt with International opinion opposes juvenile death penalty.
  • Garner v. Jones (January 11th, 2000)- Court case that discussed that it was ok to lengthen prison sentences.
  • Zadvydas v. Davis (2001)- Court case that made No judicial limit on detaining illegal immigrants.
  • Empire HealthChoice Assurance v. McVeigh (June 15th, 2006)- Cause that decided that the federal government decides insurance rates, not states.
  • District Of Columbia v. Heller (June 26th, 2008)- A case that gave the right to gun ownership is individual, not collective.
  • Brown v. Entertainment Merchants (June 27th, 2011)- Case that determined that the 1st Amendment protects videogame violence as “speech”