July 31, 2018

Statement of Hilarie Bass, ABA president Re: Retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2018 — The American Bar Association expresses its sincere appreciation to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who officially retired today, for his more than 30 years of service on the nation’s highest court.

Kennedy’s extraordinary dedication to the law and the American Bar Association had an important impact on the nation and will be missed. As keynote speaker at the 2003 ABA Annual Meeting, Kennedy challenged the ABA to evaluate the American criminal justice system including mandatory minimum sentencing, disparate sentencing rates among racial and ethnic groups, prison conditions, and the objectives of incarceration. The ABA accepted the challenge and convened a commission named for Kennedy to undertake this study.

Speaking to the 2013 ABA Annual Meeting, Kennedy encouraged the ABA to do more to promote civic education in America, saying it “be recommenced and revitalized because freedom is not something that’s on automatic pilot.” Kennedy received the ABA’s 2006 Rule of Law honoree award for his work with the ABA’s Asia Law Initiative Council and his advice to the ABA Center for Rule of Law Initiatives.

Throughout his career, Kennedy has been a formidable presence in American jurisprudence. The ABA wishes him well in retirement and hopes he continues to use his voice to advance justice.

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