Today we continue our brief introductions to the sitting Justices on the United States Supreme Court.  I’m taking them in order from oldest to youngest and today we focus on Anthony M. Kennedy.

Justice Kennedy took up his duties on the supreme court in February 1988. Prior to that time he spent time in private practice, as a constitutional law professor, and judge. Immediately before his appointment he served as a federal judge inn the Ninth Circuit.

He’s the oldest, but not the only, current justice to be born in California. He’s the son of a lawyer and studied first at Stanford. Like several of his judicial companions, he also studied at Harvard Law School. He returned to California and centered his career in that state until nominated to the high court by President Reagan.

A formal tie remains in his assignment to handle emergency appeals from the West Coast, including the Ninth Circuit.

Justice Kennedy’s opinions and dissents through the years do not fit entirely into one column of either conservative or liberal. Is the case centered on the reach of government power? Does a social issue intersect with individual liberty? Best to wait until he hears both sides present the facts and deliberates. This is a justice whose opinions you do not want to “assume”.

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