Anthony M. Kennedy was born in Sacramento, California, on July 23, 1936. While an undergraduate at Stanford University, Kennedy went to England to study at the London School of Economics for one year. He graduated from Stanford University in 1958 and Harvard Law School in 1961.
Kennedy was admitted to the California Bar in 1962 and practiced with a firm in San Francisco. One year later, he returned to his home town of Sacramento where he practiced law for 12 years. He also served as an adjunct professor at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, from 1965 to 1988.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford appointed Kennedy to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, where he served for 12 years. While on that Court he served on the Board of Directors of the Federal Judicial Center.
President Ronald Reagan nominated Kennedy to the Supreme Court of the United States on November 30, 1987. The Senate confirmed the appointment on February 3, 1988.
After the highly contested and unsuccessful nominations of Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg that Reagan had attempted previously, Kennedy was elevated to the court with a minimum of controversy. On the court, Kennedy has demonstrated a fairly conservative voting pattern. This is probably at least partially due to the fact that, like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, he's a Roman Catholic. In the recent history of 5-4 decisions, Kennedy has almost always been the wild card. In fact, on any upcoming controversial case, both sides agree it's just what side of the bed Kennedy wakes up on which decides America's future.