Home National News U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announces retirement

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announces retirement

Anthony Kennedy
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks with Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., after the annual Red Mass Oct. 2 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. The Mass traditionally marks the start of the court year, including the opening of the Supreme Court term. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, long seen as a critical swing vote on the nation’s highest bench, announced today that he is resigning his seat effective the end of July, according to a news release issued by the court.

According to the official statement: Justice Kennedy today advised his colleagues that he is submitting to the President a formal notification of his decision, effective July 31 of this year, to cease active status as an Associate Justice and to assume senior status. He said: “It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years on the Supreme Court.” He added that while his family was willing for him to continue to serve, his decision to step aside was based on his deep desire to spend more time with them. He said, too, that admiration for his colleagues on the Court means that he will retain warm ties with each of them in the years to come.

Kennedy was nominated by President Reagan and took his oath of office on February 18, 1988.

According to his biography on the court website, the longest-serving current justice was born in Sacramento, California, July 23, 1936. He is a Catholic and married to Mary Davis. They have three children.

He received his B.A. from Stanford University and the London School of Economics, and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He was in private practice in San Francisco, California from 1961–1963, as well as in Sacramento, California from 1963–1975. From 1965 to 1988, he was a Professor of Constitutional Law at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. He has served in numerous positions during his career, including a member of the California Army National Guard in 1961, the board of the Federal Judicial Center from 1987–1988, and 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 in 1975.