As rumors of his retirement swirl in political circles, Justice Anthony Kennedy wraps up his 29th year on the Supreme Court without an announcement that he's stepping down.
But the 80-year-old justice could still declare he's retiring later this summer, as former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor did in 2005. That year, the Court adjourned June 27, and she issued a press release on July 1.
A conservative who can lean moderate in cases that concern individual freedoms, Kennedy has often provided the deciding fifth vote on cases without a clear majority. As someone who has 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."
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.
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.
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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