'Kennedy's Court': Meet 81-year-old Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, who just announced his retirement

Anthony Kennedy

Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court on Wednesday after serving on the bench for 30 years.

“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,” Kennedy wrote in a statement announcing his retirement.

The 81-year-old Justice was appointed to the nation’s highest court in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. 

A conservative who leaned moderate in cases that concern individual freedoms, Kennedy often provided the deciding fifth vote on cases without a clear majority. As someone who frequently voted to support women’s and LGBT rights, Kennedy’s absence could definitively swing the Supreme Court to the right.

Here is a look at the Supreme Court justice who often shifted the balance on some of the court’s most controversial cases — so much so that many have even called it “Kennedy’s Court.”

SEE ALSO: Justice Anthony Kennedy announces retirement, meaning Trump could reshape the Supreme Court for years to come

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Anthony McLeod Kennedy was born in Sacramento, California in 1936. Kennedy grew up with parents who were politically active, and often met well known lawmakers as a young boy.

Source: Biography.com

After finishing college at Stanford, Kennedy graduated from Harvard Law School, spent a year in the army, and then went on to teach constitutional law at the University of the Pacific in California.

Sources: SCOTUSBiography.com

A devout Roman Catholic, Kennedy has often been described as a “goody-goody” in his early years. While on a summer trip to Europe, Kennedy once kept a bottle of whisky given to him by his father intact throughout the trip.

Source: U.S. News

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