There’s no modesty, judicial or literary, in Justice Kennedy

Justice Anthony Kennedy recently developed and distributed a list of recommended readings for young people. He called it “Understanding Freedom’s Heritage: How to Keep and Defend Liberty.”

Here are the items Kennedy selected:

Sophocles, Antigone (Antigone’s plea to Creon) (442 B.C.)

Pericles, Funeral Oration (431 B.C.)

Plato, The Allegory of the Cave The Republic, (Book VII) (c. 380 B.C.)

Cicero, First Oration Against Catiline (63 B.C.)

Magna Carta (Articles 39 and 40) (1215)

William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice (Portia’s speech) (1596-98)

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (Marc Antony’s funeral oration for Caesar) (1599)

Edmund Burke, Speech to the Electors at Bristol (1774)

Patrick Henry, Speech to Second Virginia Conference (1775)

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence (1776)

George Washington, Resignation Speech (1783)

Preamble, The Constitution of the United States (1787)

Federalist Paper No. 1 (1787)

William Wilberforce, Abolition Speech (1789)

Friedrich Schiller, The Maid of Orleans (plea by Joan) (1801)

Daniel Webster, Second Reply to Hayne (1830)

Sojourner Truth, Ain’t I A Woman? (1851)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (1861)

Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address (1863)

Abraham Lincoln, Letter to Mrs. Bixby (1864)

John Greenleaf Whittier, Barbara Frietchie (1864)

Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address (1865)

William Ernest Henley, Invictus (1875)

Susan B. Anthony, Women’s Right to the Suffrage (1873)

Chief Joseph, Surrender Speech (1877)

The Civil Rights Cases (Harlan, J., Dissenting) (1883)

Theodore Roosevelt, Duties of American Citizenship (1883)

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn (Chapter XXXI: Huck’s Moral Dilemma) (1885)

Plessy v. Ferguson (Harlan, J., Dissenting) (1896)

Emile Zola, J’Accuse (1898)

Theodore Roosevelt, Man in the Arena (1910)

Emmeline Pankhurst, Freedom or Death (1913)

John McCrae, In Flanders Fields (1915)

Abrams v. United States (Holmes, J., Dissenting) (1919)

Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken (1920)

Clarence Darrow, Closing Argument in Illinois v. Leopold & Loeb (1924)

Whitney v. California (Brandeis, J., Concurring) (1927)

Lou Gehrig, Farewell to Baseball (1939)

The Great Dictator (Film: Chaplin’s speech declining the dictatorship) (1940)

Winston Churchill, We Shall Fight on the Beaches (1940)

Winston Churchill, Their Finest Hour (1940)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, The Four Freedoms (1941)

John Gillespie Magee, High Flight (1941)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Pearl Harbor Address (1941)

Ghandi, Quit India (1942)

Korematsu v. United States (Murphy, J., Dissenting) (1944)

Martin Niemöller, First They Came (1946)

Jawaharlal Nehru, Tryst with Destiny (1947)

George Orwell, 1984 (1948)

William Faulkner, Acceptance of Nobel Prize (1950)

Whittaker Chambers, Witness (Preface) (1952)

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

Friedrich Dürrenmatt, The Visit (1956)

12 Angry Men (Film) (1957)

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address (1961)

John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address (1961)

To Kill a Mockingbird (Film: Gregory Peck’s closing argument to the jury) (1962)

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962)

Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream (1963)

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963)

Don McLean, American Pie (Song) (1971)

Michael Crichton, The Great Train Robbery (Preface) (1975)

Ronald Reagan, The Boys of Pointe du Hoc (1984)

Ronald Reagan, Speech at Berlin Wall (1987)

Texas v. Johnson (Kennedy, J., concurring) (1989)

A Few Good Men (Film: Tom Cruise’s direct examination of Jack Nicholson) (1992)

Shawshank Redemption (Film: Mozart Duet Inspires Prisoners) (1994)

Legally Blonde (Film: Reese Witherspoon’s commencement address) (2001)

Lawrence v. Texas (2003)

Forget Don McLean, The Shawshank Redemption, Legally Blonde and the other ridiculous window dressing Kennedy added to make himself seem “with it” (what happened to My Cousin Vinny?). Kennedy has placed two of his opinions, including the one in Lawrence, alongside the works of Sophocles, Plato, Shakespeare, Burke, Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, Solzhenitsyn, King, and Reagan.

How pleasant to contemplate that the outcome of most of the critical judicial decisions of our era is determined by this pretentious man.

Via Ed Whelan.

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