The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies is honored to host Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to deliver our fifth annual Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture on October 24, 2012.
The lecture, entitled “The Constitution and Its Promise,” is the penultimate event in Heritage’s 2012 Preserve the Constitution Series, which features the nation’s most respected jurists, legal scholars, and policy analysts.
Justice Kennedy has served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States for over 24 years. In nominating him to the high court in 1987, President Ronald Reagan remarked that Kennedy’s career as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as a constitutional law professor, and in private practice was “marked by his devotion to a simple, straightforward, and enduring principle: that we are a government of laws, not men.”
During his more than three decades on the bench, Justice Kennedy has played an integral role in the consideration and decision of some of the most significant constitutional challenges in our nation’s history. Widely recognized as an independent jurist, Kennedy has staked out a reputation as a staunch defender of First Amendment rights, individual liberty against government intrusion, and federalism.
Speaking about two of these themes—individual liberty and federalism—Kennedy wrote last year, “By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power. When government acts in excess of its lawful powers, that liberty is at stake.”
And in vigorously defending political speech the year before, Kennedy articulated the importance of protecting First Amendment rights to secure our other liberties: “Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people.”
The namesake of the lecture—the eminent jurist Joseph Story—became the youngest associate justice ever to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States when President Madison appointed him in 1812. Story made a significant mark on American law in his 33 years on the bench, but his greatest contribution to jurisprudence is his renowned Commentaries on the Constitution. This lecture series celebrates his legacy.
Join us online Wednesday, October 24 at 5:30 pm for a live broadcast of Justice Kennedy’s lecture.