U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Kennedy Hits ‘Silly’ Attitude of Critics, Supports Kozinski

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Justice Anthony M. Kennedy opened a speech on the rule of law yesterday with some support for his former law clerk, Alex Kozinski.

“I am proud that the chief judge, Alex Kozinski, was my law clerk,” Kennedy said, according to an account of his speech in the National Law Journal.

Kozinski, chief judge of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has weathered his share of controversy after revelations that he posted humorous sexually explicit material to his website. Kozinski has said he didn’t realize the material could be accessed by those outside his family and ordered an ethics investigation into his own conduct.

Most of Kennedy’s talk decried the lack of access to the rule of law by billions of people. He also touched on the outcry over one of his decisions that cited international law in striking down the death penalty for juveniles.

“We are obligated to let people know what is shaping our thinking,” Kennedy said. He wondered whether critics would have him hide that he is reading French philosophers, for example.

“It is silly, this kind of know-nothing attitude,” he said.

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