PHILADELPHIA — This past Sunday, former Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was honored with the 31st annual Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center. Kennedy received the medal for the efforts he made throughout his career to preserve American liberty by promoting “civil dialogue” between all Americans concerning the Constitution. In addition to donors, family, friends, and the media, the ceremony was attended by Mr. Horwits, accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Zeserman, and several students from the 279th class.
Current Associate Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch presented Kennedy with the medal, remarking on the man he knew personally, early on in his career, and his brief experiences serving with him before Kennedy’s retirement in mid-2018.
“The man has touched the lives of those around him in ways that hold rich lessons all their own,” said Gorsuch, humbled by his experiences with Kennedy.
In his acceptance speech, Kennedy spoke at length on the multi-level significance of the Constitution and the importance of putting ideology aside in discussing the country’s founding document.
“[I]t’s the government’s duty to let the citizens make these judgments,” said Kennedy, discussing the First Amendment. “and we should have a civic dialogue to enable us to make those judgments.”
With the literal significance of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, Kennedy also described the cultural significance of the constitution.
“Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Harrington, Jacques Martin, and Aristotle talked about the constitution of a people,” started Kennedy, drawing interested glances from Mr. Horwits and his AP government students. “By that they meant the sum total of their mores, their traditions, their customs, their aspirations, their heritage…”
Anthony Kennedy finished his acceptance speech with a call for Americans and American judges to respect each other in all discussions, no matter the issue. “We have a duty to show through our civic discourse that we can be a rational, thoughtful, tolerant, decent, kind people,” declared Kennedy, harping on the demand for level-headedness in the present-day political environment.
A full recording of the ceremony can be found here: https://youtu.be/fldDTNRvkaw
Maximillian Hall (279)
Mrs. Zeserman (279 sponsor) (left), Mr. Horwits, Ife Islam, Zelin Li, Drew Schaffling, Maximillian Hall, Sioehan Mcatamney, Victoria Dong (right) of 279.