U.S. Supreme Court

Is Justice Kennedy a 'cultural dinosaur'? He admits Lady Gaga confusion, but likes law prof blogs

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy isn’t as attuned to popular culture as Justice Antonin Scalia, who recently told New York magazine he once watched an episode of Duck Dynasty and owns some Seinfeld DVDs.

During an interview on Monday at the University of California Washington Center, Kennedy said he doesn’t watch television, other than an occasional film on Turner Classic Movies, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog (sub. req.) reports. “My grandchildren and my children think I’m a cultural dinosaur,” he said.

Kennedy recalled being in a store over the holidays last year, when he overheard someone say, “What was Lady Gaga talking about?’’ His response: “That’s not a nice thing to call that lady.”

Kennedy does like blogs, however, he told the Wall Street Journal interviewer in this exchange:

Q: Chief Justice John Roberts, among others, has criticized law reviews for publishing articles on obscure subjects that offer little assistance to the bar and bench. I understand you agree—but have found a substitute.

A: Professors are back in the act with the blogs. Orin Kerr, one of my former clerks, with criminal procedure [and] the Internet area, Mike Dorf, Jack Goldsmith. So the professors within 72 hours have a comment on the court opinion, which is helpful, and they are beginning to comment on when the certs are granted. And I like that.

Q: So you’re reading blog posts after cert grants?

A: I have my clerks do it, especially with the ones when we’ve granted cert, to see how they think about what the issues are.”

The interviewer also asked Kennedy whether law school should be shortened to two years. “I think the cost factor has to be addressed,” Kennedy said, but “I don’t think the right way to address it is to shorten the curriculum [which provides] the foundation for what I call the language of the law, the language that lawyers speak to each other.”

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