Legal Masterminds: Current U.S. Supreme Court Justices

This post is the second in a series on the current U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy is the second most senior Justice on the current court. Like Justice Scalia, he was also appointed by President Reagan. Appointed in 1988, Justice Kennedy is considered a conservative, but is quite often the "swing vote," in many of the Court's decisions.

Anthony McLeod Kennedy (Born July 23, 1936)

Kennedy, a Californian, earned his undergraduate degree at Stanford University, and then received his law degree from Harvard Law School. While he shares the same last name, and his family had some influence in local politics, he is not a member of the famous Kennedy political family.

 He spent many years in private practice, and also as a Constitutional Law professor. He has also served in a variety of committees during his career prior to being unanimously appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Swing Voter 

Unlike other justices on the Court, Kennedy does not adhere to a rigid ideology in deciding cases, but rather likes to review each case individually when coming to a decision.

He wrote the majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), a landmark decision which struck down a sodomy law in Texas. The justification for the constitutional protection rested on the privacy of one's own home, and also privacy of one's personal intimate life.