Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Anthony M. KennedyAnthony McLeod Kennedy (born July 23, 1936) is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, having been appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Since the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, Kennedy is often considered the swing vote on many of the Court's politically charged 5–4 decisions, although he reaches conservative results more often than not. He is one of only two Supreme Court justices who did not first serve on the Acela circuit.

Kennedy was in private practice in San Francisco, California, from 1961–1963, then took over his father's practice in Sacramento, California, from 1963–1975 following his father's death. From 1965 to 1988, he was a Professor of Constitutional Law at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific and currently continues teaching law students (including legal seminars during McGeorge's European summer sessions in Salzburg, Austria). He remains Pacific McGeorge's longest-serving active faculty member. During his time as a California legal professor and attorney, he assisted then-California Governor Ronald Reagan with drafting a state tax proposal.

Kennedy 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 Gerald Ford in 1975, upon the recommendation of Reagan.

Kennedy was nominated to the Supreme Court after Reagan's failed attempts at placing Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg there. While vetting Kennedy for potential nomination, some of Reagan's Justice Department lawyers said Kennedy was too eager to put courts in such disputes that many conservatives would rather leave to legislatures, and to identify rights not expressly written in the Constitution. Kennedy's stance in favor of privacy rights drew criticism; Kennedy cited Roe v. Wade and other privacy right cases favorably, which one lawyer called "really very distressing."¹

Anthony M. Kennedy Quotes

"The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is besides the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech."
"The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."

"The case for freedom, the case for our constitutional principles, the case for our heritage has to be made anew in each generation. The work of freedom is never done."

"As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom."

"The lessons of the First Amendment are as urgent in the modern world as the 18th Century when it was written. One timeless lesson is that if citizens are subjected to state-sponsored religious exercises, the State disavows its own duty to guard and respect that sphere of inviolable conscience and belief which is the mark of a free people."

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