Successful Symposium First of More to Come

A portrait of retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy hanging in McGeorge School of Law's Grand Salon

A portrait of retired United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy hanging in the Grand Salon in the library at McGeorge School of Law.

The Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Endowed Chair hosted its first academic event on March 12 and April 2, 2021. The online event brought together the authors of the forthcoming book, Anthony M. Kennedy: The Rhetoric of Judging, to discuss their draft chapters. The book was organized, and is edited, by Professor Francis J. Mootz III of McGeorge School of Law, and David M. Frank, Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Oregon, Clark Honors College.

The forthcoming book assesses the rhetoric Justice Kennedy used to support his arguments favoring a broad conception of liberty. The multidisciplinary approach draws from several perspectives including law, rhetoric, and literature. The contributors include classical scholars, such as Michael Gagarin - the leading authority on the legal system of ancient Athens - and Eugene Garver - the leading authority on Aristotle’s Rhetoric, as well as contemporary legal and rhetorical scholars including noted experts Ash Bhagwat (a constitutional scholar who clerked for Justice Kennedy), Beth Britt (an English Professor specializing in legal rhetoric), Clarke Rountree (an expert in Kenneth Burke’s rhetorical criticism), and Kathryn Stanchi (an expert in the cognitive science behind rhetorical persuasiveness).

The book will be published in 2022 by the Penn State Press in its series, “Rhetoric and Deliberative Democracy.” Professor Mootz noted that “the legacy of Justice Kennedy’s rhetoric will be a topic of discussion for years to come, and this book brings together leading experts in law and rhetoric to provide an important touchstone for those inquiries.” Mootz is author of Rhetorical Knowledge in Legal Practice and Critical Legal Theory, and Law, Hermeneutics and Rhetoric. He is co-editor of Justice Scalia: Rhetoric and the Rule of Law, and other books addressing legal reasoning.

Anthony M. Kennedy Chair and Professor of Law Leslie Gielow Jacobs, who is contributing a chapter to the book, said, “It is fitting that the first event hosted by the Kennedy Chair be about Justice Kennedy. This is a fantastic group of co-authors and collaborators whose work is going to make a significant contribution to scholarship and conversations about Justice Kennedy and his tenure on the Supreme Court.” She also noted that she looks forward to future gatherings organized by the Kennedy Chair. The symposium was opened by Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz, and included a recorded welcome of the participants from Justice Kennedy, who spoke on the need to maintain civility in legal education and legal practice.

The Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Endowed Chair was created by a generous gift of $1 million by the Tsakopoulos Family Foundation. The gift was doubled by University of the Pacific’s Powell Match Program.