Robert F. Kennedy, Jr: Wikis

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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Robert Kennedy, Jr. at Ralph Lauren's 40th Anniversary, September 2007. Photo by Christopher Peterson.
Born Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr.
January 17, 1954 (1954-01-17) (age 56)
Washington, D.C., United States
Education BA in American History and Literature (Harvard University)
JD (University of Virginia School of Law)
LLM (Pace University School of Law)
Occupation Lawyer
Political party Democrat
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Emily Ruth Black (1982-1994 div.)
Mary Richardson (m. 1994)
Children Robert F. III, and Kathleen Alexandra by Emily Ruth Black,
Conor Richardson, Kyra LeMoyne, William Finbar, and Aidan Caohman Vieques by Mary Richardson
Parents Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. during a speech in Urbana, Illinois, in 2007

Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr. (born January 17, 1954) is the third of eleven children born to Ethel Skakel Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and is the nephew of John F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy. He is an attorney specializing in environmental law and was co-host of Ring of Fire on the Air America Radio network.


Early life and education

Kennedy was born in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Harvard College in 1976 with a an Bachelor of Arts in American history and literature (including a year of study at the London School of Economics) and obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, following in the footsteps of his father and his uncle Edward M. Kennedy. He also obtained an LL.M. from the Pace University School of Law.[1]

Marriages and children

Kennedy married Emily Ruth Black (b. October 15, 1957)[2] on April 3, 1982 in Bloomington, Indiana, daughter of Thomas Black and Helen Armstrong. They have two children:

  • Robert Francis Kennedy III (b. September 2, 1984 in Mt. Kisco, New York)
  • Kathleen Alexandra Kennedy (b. April 13, 1988 in Mt. Kisco, New York), known as "Kick", a nickname she shares with her late great-aunt Kathleen Kennedy

They divorced on March 25, 1994 in the Dominican Republic. He married Mary Richardson (b. 1960) on April 15, 1994 on board a research vessel along the Hudson River. They have four children:

  • John Conor Kennedy (b. July 24, 1994 in Mt. Kisco, New York);
  • Kyra LeMoyne Kennedy (b. August 22, 1995 in Mt. Kisco, New York);
  • William Finbar Kennedy (b. November 8, 1997 in Mt. Kisco, New York);
  • Aidan Vieques Kennedy (b. July 13, 2001).

Criminal record


In 1983, he was arrested in a Rapid City South Dakota Airport for heroin possession. A search of his carry-on bag uncovered 183 milligrams of the drug.[3] Upon entering a plea of guilty, Kennedy, then 29 years old, was sentenced to two years probation, periodic tests for drug use, treatment by joining Narcotics Anonymous, and 1,500 hours of community service by Presiding Judge Marshall P. Young.[3]


In April 2001, Kennedy was arrested for trespassing at Camp Garcia, the United States Navy training facility on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Kennedy and others were protesting the use of a small section of the island for training. The trespassing incident forced the suspension of live-fire exercises for almost 3 hours. Despite the best efforts of his counsel, former Governor of New York Mario Cuomo, on 18 July 2001 Kennedy was sentenced to 30 days in jail by Judge Hector Laffitte.[4][5]

Sporting life

Kennedy is a licensed master falconer and former president of the New York State Falconer's Association.[6] He is also an avid whitewater rafter and has led several rafting trips in Canada and Central America.[7][8] He appeared in the IMAX documentary film Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk, riding the length of the Grand Canyon with his daughter and with anthropologist Wade Davis.

Legal career

In 1984, Kennedy joined the Riverkeeper organization to satisfy the 1,500 hours community service to which he was sentenced. He worked with the group to sue alleged polluters of the Hudson River. After his 1,500 hours were complete, the group hired Kennedy as its chief prosecuting attorney.[9] Riverkeeper was founded in 1966 by a group of fishermen and residents from New York.[10]

Kennedy also founded and is the current chairman of the umbrella organization Waterkeeper Alliance,[11] which connects and supports local waterkeeper groups. Today there are 191 waterkeeper programs worldwide operating under the trademarked "Riverkeeper", "Lakekeeper", "Baykeeper", or "Coastkeeper" names.[12]

Since 1987 Kennedy has served as a Clinical Professor of Environmental Law and co-director of the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic[13] at Pace University School of Law. The clinic allows second and third year law students to try cases against alleged Hudson River polluters. Kennedy also serves as a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council,[8] a non-profit organization based in New York which works to expand environmental laws and restrict land use.

Earlier in his career, Kennedy served as assistant district attorney in New York County.[14]

Media work and public activism

In 1998, Kennedy, Chris Bartle and John Hoving created a bottled water company that donates all of its profits to Waterkeeper Alliance.[15] They named their Manhattan based company Tear of the Clouds LLC., after the lake of the same name in nearby Essex County.[16] Their product is bottled under the name Keeper Springs.[17] Kennedy currently co-hosts Ring of Fire on Air America Radio with Mike Papantonio.[18] Kennedy does so despite suffering from spasmodic dysphonia,[19] a disorder that makes speech difficult and causes the voice to sound quavery.

Kennedy has written two books and several articles on environmental issues. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside magazine, The Village Voice and many more. Since May 2005 he's been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post, a blog run by Arianna Huffington.[20]

Kennedy collaborated on an article entitled, "The Energy of Bobby Kennedy, Jr" for the debut issue of Above magazine, an ecological magazine based in London.

Kennedy was named one of's "Heroes for the Planet" for his success in helping Riverkeeper to restore the Hudson River.[21] In 2005, he argued for a link between global warming and Hurricane Katrina in an editorial for the Huffington Post. [22]

In a 2005 editorial for the New York Times, Kennedy argued, "As an environmentalist, I support wind power, including wind power on the high seas. I am also involved in siting wind farms in appropriate landscapes, of which there are many. But I do believe that some places should be off limits to any sort of industrial development. I wouldn't build a wind farm in Yosemite National Park. Nor would I build one on Nantucket Sound, which is exactly what the company Energy Management is trying to do with its Cape Wind project."[23] This position angered some environmentalists. [24]

Kennedy authored a June 2005 article in Rolling Stone alleging that the United States government is conspiring to cover up connections between the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal in inoculations and childhood autism.[25] Current consensus among the medical community states there is a lack of scientific evidence to support this allegation.[26][27]

In an article in the June 5, 2006, issue of Rolling Stone entitled "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?", Kennedy comes to the conclusion that the Republican Party stole the 2004 American presidential election. Farhad Manjoo, Technology staff writer for, has criticized Kennedy's interpretation and methodology.[28] Kennedy responded to Manjoo's criticisms in detail.[29]

Kennedy has been criticized for receiving royalty payments for participation in two family-owned oil drilling companies, and also for using private jets while lecturing about the perils of global warming.[30]

On July 7, 2007, Kennedy appeared in New Jersey at the Live Earth event. His speech challenged the public to question the implied position of the energy industry that economic and environmental policies are mutually exclusive. He referred to several media personalities (Glenn Beck, John Stossel, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh among them) as "flat-Earthers", and "traitors".[31] Kennedy's speech concludes with the statement "And I will see all of you on the barricades." He is a self-described pro-life supporter.[32] Kennedy also sits on the board of directors of the Food Allergy Initiative[33]

2008 Presidential election

In late 2007, Robert [34] and his sisters Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Kerry Kennedy[35] announced that they would be endorsing Hillary Clinton.

In response to subsequent endorsements by Caroline Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, and Patrick J. Kennedy for Barack Obama, Robert, Kathleen, and Kerry wrote in a January 29, 2008, editorial:

By now you may have read or heard that our cousin, Caroline Kennedy, and our uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, have come out in favor of Sen. Barack Obama. We, however, are supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton because we believe that she is the strongest candidate for our party and our country.[36]

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., was also featured in an ad campaign for Clinton alongside the grandson of Cesar Chavez.[37]

In October 2008, on the Etown radio program where he received their E-chievement Award and was interviewed, he cited the need to elect Barack Obama.[38]

Political aspirations

In a January 2007 interview in O, The Oprah Magazine, Kennedy hinted that he might run for the position of United States Senator from New York, if Hillary Clinton were to win the 2008 Presidential election.[39] The Senate seat formerly held by Clinton is the same seat to which RFK Jr.'s father Robert F. Kennedy was elected in 1964. Kennedy announced on December 2, 2008, however, that he was not interested in taking Clinton's seat.[40]

Books by Kennedy


  1. ^ The Backbone Cabinet - A Progressive Cabinet Roster
  2. ^ American Experience | The Kennedys | Kennedy Family Tree | PBS
  3. ^ a b AROUND THE NATION; Kennedy Son Given Probation in Drug Case - New York Times
  4. ^ Kennedy Gets Noted Defense, And 30 Days - New York Times
  5. ^ BBC News | AMERICAS | US Navy resumes Vieques war games
  6. ^ News & Culture in Santa Cruz County | Robert F. Kennedy Jr
  7. ^ Waterkeeper Alliance: Our President
  8. ^ a b Robert F. Kennedy Jr
  9. ^
  10. ^, Our Story
  11. ^ Waterkeeper Alliance
  12. ^ Waterkeeper Alliance: Mission
  13. ^ staff
  14. ^ Robert F. Kennedy Jr
  15. ^
  16. ^ A conversation about the Hudson River pollution with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and John Cronin - Charlie Rose
  17. ^ Keeper Springs
  18. ^ Ring of Fire | Air America Radio |
  19. ^ . Leibovich, Mark (2006-06-25). "Another Kennedy Living Dangerously". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  20. ^ Robert F. Kennedy Jr. - Politics on The Huffington Post
  21. ^ Heroes for the Planet, 7/19/99 - Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and John Cronin
  22. ^ For They That Sow the Wind Shall Reap the Whirlwind."
  23. ^ An Ill Wind Off Cape Cod
  24. ^ The Wind and the Willful
  25. ^ R. F. Kennedy, Jr. (June 20, 2005). "Deadly Immunity (corrected)". Salon, Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  26. ^ Doja A, Roberts W (2006). "Immunizations and autism: a review of the literature". Can J Neurol Sci 33 (4): 341–6. PMID 17168158. 
  27. ^ Offit PA (2007). "Thimerosal and vaccines—a cautionary tale". N Engl J Med 357 (13): 1278–9. doi:10.1056/NEJMp078187. PMID 17898096. 
  28. ^ Was the 2004 election stolen? No. | Salon News
  29. ^ Was the 2004 election stolen? |
  30. ^ Schweizer, Peter (2005-10-25). Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy. Doubleday. pp. 272 pages. ISBN 0385513496. 
  31. ^ YouTube - RFK JR - Live Earth
  32. ^ [1]
  33. ^ "FAI Leadership". at Food Allergy Initiative. 2008. Retrieved 12-11-2008. 
  34. ^ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. endorses Hillary Clinton
  35. ^ Kennedy Family Split On Endorsements
  36. ^ Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kerry Kennedy (2008-01-29). "Kennedys for Clinton". Los Angeles Times.,0,1618955.story. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  37. ^ Beth Fouhy (2008-02-02). "Clinton Ads Feature Kennedy, Chavez Kin". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  38. ^ Show Number: 0841, Air Date: week of 10-08-2008, "Etown at the DNC Pt. II"
  39. ^ Tony Allen-Mills (2007-01-21). "Kennedy Jr eyes Hillary’s Senate seat". The Sunday Times.,,2089-2557909,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  40. ^ Robert F. Kennedy’s Son Not Interested in Senate Seat

External links

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