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Anthony M. Kennedy reflects on his life and years on the Supreme Court in a two-volume memoir

NEW YORK (AP) — Retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is coming out this fall with his two-volume memoir, tracing his life from his childhood in California to his 30 years on the court, during which he cast important votes in groundbreaking cases of everything from abortion to gay marriage to campaign finance.

Simon & Schuster announced Tuesday that Kennedy’s “Life and Law: The Early Years” and “Life and Law: The Court Years” will be published on October 1 as a boxed set and in individual editions, each containing approximately 320 pages. Kennedy was widely considered a moderate conservative who wrote the majority opinion on such narrowly divided cases as Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allowed corporations and other parties to enter into business spend unlimited money on election campaigns.

“In ‘Life and Law,’ he explains the why and how of judgment,” Simon & Schuster’s announcement reads in part.

“The second volume is filled with moving portraits of Justices O’Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia and Ginsburg, which accompany the account of how Kennedy formed his views in the landmark cases. But it is the first volume about his youth in Sacramento and his decade as a practicing attorney that explains the legal giant. Readers will see the child transform into the man who shaped America as much as any other Washington figure in the 21st century.”

The 87-year-old Kennedy noted in the foreword to the first volume that his memoirs turned out to be more extensive than originally planned.

“It was my intention (I raised my right hand to swear) to summarize my earlier years. But something happened on the way to the pencil,” he wrote. “I remember more and more how our society and its way of thinking changed in fascinating ways in the 40s and 50s, through the 60s and then again in the 70s. This seemed relevant to the dynamics that affected me and our larger society.”

“With each passing day we should strive to learn more about who we are and who we should become,” he added. “Writing a memoir is a formal way of doing this.”

Kennedy was an associate justice from 1988 to 2018, and his arrival and departure proved equally newsworthy.

He was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan, but only after the Senate rejected Reagan’s first choice, Robert Bork, and second choice, Douglas Ginsburg, did he withdraw due to reports that he had smoked marijuana. When Kennedy announced his retirement in 2018, President Donald Trump nominated a former Kennedy law clerk, Brett Kavanaugh, who was narrowly approved by the Senate after contentious confirmation hearings in which Kavanaugh attacked a high school acquaintance, Christine Blasey Ford.

Kennedy’s book comes shortly after Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s memoir, “Lovely One,” which comes out Sept. 3.

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