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Justice Anthony Kennedy’s LGBTQ Civil Rights Legacy

Steve Yeater / AP Photo

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy delivers the keynote speech during a luncheon held for high school civics students in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018.

Steve Yeater / AP Photo

On June 26, Sacramento’s most important jurist, Justice Anthony Kennedy, penned the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision granting marriage equality in all 50 states. Lesley McClurg speaks with two McGeorge School of Law professors join to discuss Obergefell v. Hodges and the prior cases Justice Kennedy wrote from 1996 to 2013 that built the constitutional foundation for marriage equality.

“I think [Justice Kennedy] is animated by an equality principle. And on First Amendment cases, I think he may be the closest thing to a First Amendment purist on the court,” says Prof. Levine.

“Starting with Romer [v. Evans in 1996], and going all the way through the other cases, he has really penetrated to the reality of life: that relationships are important to us; that we're all looking for love; we sometimes find it, we sometimes don't. And that to deny that aspect of life to any group within the population is is fundamentally unfair,” says Prof. Sims.

Since the first time this interview aired, Justice Anthony Kennedy retired from the US Supreme Court in July 2018, after more than 30 years of service on the high court. 

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