Senate Confirms Kennedy, Fills Supreme Court Vacancy

WASHINGTON--Anthony M. Kennedy, President Reagan's third choice to fill out the Supreme Court, was confirmed unanimously by the Senate yesterday.

Kennedy, a 1961 graduate of Harvard Law School, will become the 104th justice to sit on the nation's highest court. He is now an appellate judge in California. He will be sworn in February 18.

Liberals and conservatives alike praised Kennedy as a conservative judicial craftsman without a rigid ideology. He was approved by a vote of 97-0.

During an hour of low-key floor statements preceding the Senate vote, liberal Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54 (D-Mass.) set the tone, saying the nominee "has demonstrated integrity, intelligence, courage and craftsmanship--and a judicial philosophy that places him within the mainstream of constitutional interpretation."

The Massachusetts senator said Anthony Kennedy does not consider the Constitution "a fossil frozen in the past."

And he praised the nominee as a "brilliant pioneer" for writing an opinion that struck down the so-called legislative veto, which gave each house of Congress power by itself to override actions by executive agencies. The Supreme Court later upheld Kennedy's ruling in that case.