Justice Kennedy is the most senior and influential justice on the court. He is frequently the “swing” vote in cases where the court’s four conservative and four liberal justices find themselves at odds over how a case should be resolved.
Born in Sacramento, Justice Kennedy eventually took over his father’s legal practice in town following his graduation from Harvard Law School. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by President Gerald Ford in 1975. He was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Ronald Regan and won unanimous confirmation from the United States Senate in 1988.