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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In Waikiki, Jusitce Kennedy Discusses the Rule of Law

Dahlia Lithwick covers today Justice Kennedy’s address at the ABA annual meeting:

"[Kennedy]  is charging the assembled attorneys to do the job of selling to a doubting world "the essentiality of the rule of law." "Make no mistake," he warns, "there's a jury that's out. In half the world, the verdict is not yet in. The commitment to accept the Western idea of democracy has not yet been made, and they are waiting for you to make the case." Referring to terrorism and violence and totalitarianism, he says, "The tide has gone out, and we are on the beach…

To that end, he assigns himself a seemingly impossible task: He wants to define "rule of law" so we can start to peddle the concept worldwide. It is not enough to sell the world on the U.S. Constitution, he says. That is merely a set of "negative commands." He is looking for a positive formulation for the rule of law. "

Posted by Orly Lobel on August 8, 2006 at 01:37 AM in Orly Lobel | Permalink


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It's a shame that Kennedy, et al, blew their best chance to forcefully demonstrate the power of the rule of law to trump all other considerations, including partisanship and croneyism, when on December 12th, 2000 they stopped the Florida recount, thereby handing the 2000 Presidential election to their ideological soulmate, a man whose father served as Vice-President to the administration that appointed three of them and as President appointed two of them himself.

Posted by: Bart Motes | Aug 8, 2006 2:01:14 AM

I can't take "Rule of Law" pontifications seriously from any Justice who joined the majority opinion in Bush v. Gore. I'm sorry if that sounds partisan, but it's outrageous that Justice Kennedy suddenly praises the rule of law and criticizes ... what, those who twist the law for political ends? I've now read the wonder that is Bush v. Gore several times, I can't see it as anything other than naked political decisionmaking. To paraphrase what those on the right say about Roe v. Wade, it "is not constitutional law, and barely makes any pretense of trying to be"; and it is an "embarassment to those who take constitutional law seriously."

I know it's been six years since that decision, but I don't think hypocrisy comes with a statute of limitations; having signed onto that naked abuse of the law and the high court, Justice Kennedy is in no position to get on a high horse and lecture anyone about the "rule of law."

Posted by: Scott Moss | Aug 8, 2006 1:16:57 PM

Sorry for paralleling what Bart said without acknowledging that -- due to some tech glitch, I saw "Comments (0)" when I wrote my own post.

Posted by: Scott Moss | Aug 8, 2006 1:18:44 PM

That's ok, Scott, that's always the sincerest form of internet agreement! And I get the same glitch, it still says zero comments.

Posted by: Bart Motes | Aug 8, 2006 9:19:04 PM

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