Mother: Gladys (McLeod) Kennedy, civic leader
Marriage: Mary (Davis) Kennedy (1963-present)
Children: Justin; Gregory; Kristin
Education: London School of Economics, 1957-1958; Stanford University B.A. Political Science, 1954-1958; Harvard Law School LL.B., 1961
Military Service: California Army National Guard, PFC 1961
Religion: Roman Catholic
He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
While a Sacramento lawyer in private practice he was also a lobbyist.
His nomination to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Gerald Ford
was a result of his being recommended by California's then governor, Ronald Reagan
He is known for his reverence for legal precedent, for creating unlikely coalitions among the justices, and for being a strong advocate of free speech.
Kennedy teaches at the University of Salzburg in Austria during the court's summer recess. The class is offered as part of the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law's summer program.
1962 - Kennedy is admitted to the California Bar.
1961-1963 - Practices law at the firm of Thelen, Marrin, John & Bridges in San Francisco.
1963 - After his father's sudden death, Kennedy takes over his law practice in Sacramento.
1965-1988 - Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law.
1973 - Helps draft Proposition 1, a California ballot initiative to limit state spending, which later fails.
May 30, 1975-February 2, 1988 - Judge, Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
November 11, 1987 - To fill the seat vacated by Justice Lewis Powell's retirement, President Ronald Reagan nominates Judge Kennedy to the Supreme Court after the confirmation failures of nominees Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg.
February 3, 1988 - The Senate votes unanimously to confirm his appointment.
February 18, 1988 - Kennedy is sworn in as the 104th justice of the Supreme Court.
June 29, 1992 -
Angers conservatives by coauthoring, with Justices Sandra Day O'Connor
and David Souter
, the opinion of the court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey
, to uphold Roe v. Wade
March 1, 2005 -
Writes the majority opinion for the 5-4 ruling in Roper v. Simmons
stating that executing killers who were under age 18 when they committed their crimes is unconstitutional.
April 18, 2007 -
Voting with the conservatives in the 5-4 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart
, Justice Kennedy writes the majority opinion to uphold the nationwide ban on partial birth abortions.
June 12, 2008 -
In Boumediene v. Bush
, he writes the majority 5-4 opinion, assessing that the language of the Constitution grants the Guantanamo Bay prison detainees
the right to seek habeas corpus.
June 25, 2008 -
Writes in Kennedy v. Louisiana
the majority opinion, 5-4, overturning the state's death penalty
statute for child rape when death was not a circumstance of the case.
June 25, 2012 -
Writes the opinion of the court in Arizona v. United States
, overturning three sections of Arizona's 2010 immigration law.
June 26, 2015 -
Kennedy writes the landmark majority opinion of the court in Obergefell v. Hodges
, making same-sex marriage
legal in all 50 U.S. states.