Kevin Daley, DCNF
Retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy warned university students that democracy is endangered by the decline of free and open civic debate.
“We have a social framework of decency that we’re very quickly losing,” Kennedy said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which was on hand during the recent event at the UC Hastings College of Law. Without that framework, he explained, free societies cannot endure.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the justice bemoaned the “egocentrism that the cyber age has brought us.”
“Our young people in the cyber age don’t think the past is important,” Kennedy said. “If it’s not on your screen, it’s not important.”
The importance of civil, wide-ranging discourse was a major touchstone of Kennedy’s jurisprudence during his tenure on the Supreme Court. Even in closely-divided cases touching hot social controversies, the justice emphasized the respect due to all parties and extolled the virtue of free expression.
Perhaps the most significant of Kennedy’s opinions was the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, which established the constitutional right to same-sex marriage. There he repeatedly argued that the decision’s detractors had good faith objections to same-sex unions which should be aired in a respectful exchange of views.
“Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here,” Kennedy wrote. Elsewhere in the decision, he emphasized that religious dissenters may engage in “an open and searching debate” over the nature of marriage.
In a short concurring opinion several years later, Kennedy harshly condemned the California legislature for enacting a law requiring pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to convey information about abortion access. The high court said that law likely violated the First Amendment.
“The California legislature included in its official history the congratulatory statement that the act was part of California’s legacy of ‘forward thinking,’” Kennedy wrote. “But it is not forward thinking to force individuals to ‘be an instrument for fostering public adherence to an ideological point of view they find unacceptable.’”
Kennedy retired at the end of the Supreme Court’s last term in June 2018. He was succeeded by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, his former law clerk.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
DONATE TO BIZPAC REVIEW
Please help us! If you are fed up with letting radical big tech execs, phony fact-checkers, tyrannical liberals and a lying mainstream media have unprecedented power over your news please consider making a donation to BPR to help us fight them. Now is the time. Truth has never been more critical!
- Paralympian SUES Portland over ‘dangerous and unsanitary’ conditions impossible for wheelchairs to navigate - September 9, 2022
- WH dismisses IG’s damning report that found Afghan refugees let into US may pose a ‘security threat’ - September 8, 2022
- Newsmax host accuses media of ‘demonizing’ white women, driving racial tensions - September 8, 2022
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.