Sunday, March 06, 2005

Thank You, Justice Kennedy

This LA Times article reminds me to write a post on Justice Anthony Kennedy (link via How Appealing). There is no doubt Kennedy is a Conservative, albeit a moderate one. However, his own political leanings not withstanding, what I like about Kennedy is that it is clear from his opinions that he has a passionate commitment to justice for all Americans, not just those politically favored. Unlike his swing vote colleague Sandra Day O'Connor, whose predilection for Solomonic rulings is turning into somewhat of a joke, Kennedy is willing to take a stand when he feels the constitution mandates it. That Kennedy, a devout Catholic, wrote some of the most stirring and life-affirming opinions in the past half-century on gay rights (Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas) is proof that he is a man of legal principle and integrity. And I still feel that his opinion in Lee v. Weisman represents one of the greatest pieces of 1st amendment jurisprudence of our times. Since his opinion in Roper v. Simmons, Kennedy has been attacked as a "would-be legislator, a dilettante sociologist and a free-lance moralist, disguised as a judge", his opinions examples of the "Supreme Court's imperialism". Conservatives need to remember that the constitution doesn't permit every policy they find preferable or advantageous. Some things do violate our constitution. It is certainly debatable what those things are. However, I personally find Kennedy's obvious and passionate devotion to justice to be inspirational, not scorn-worthy.

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