Anthony McLeod Kennedy (b. July 23, 1936) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Since the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, Kennedy has often been the swing vote on many of the Court's 5–4 decisions. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is besides the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.
The remedy for speech that is false is speech that is true. This is the ordinary course in a free society. The response to the unreasoned is the rational; to the uninformed, the enlightened; to the straight- out lie, the simple truth.
The Constitution doesn't belong to a bunch of judges and lawyers. It belongs to you.
As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.
First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought or to justify its laws for that impermissible end. The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.
Our system presumes that there are certain principles that are more important than the temper of the times. And you must have a judge who is detached, who is independent, who is fair, who is committed only to those principles, and not public pressures of other sort.
We must never lose sight of the fact that the law has a moral foundation, and we must never fail to ask ourselves not only what the law is, but what the law should be.
At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life...
Sometimes you don't know if you're Caesar about to cross the Rubicon or Captain Queeg cutting your own tow line.
One can conclude that certain essential, or fundamental, rights should exist in any just society. It does not follow that each of those essential rights is one that we as judges can enforce under the written Constitution
You have plaintiffs attorneys, you have defense attorneys. So there is no unified bar that will protect a particular judge who has made a courageous decision that's unpopular.
The case for freedom, the case for our constitutional principles the case for our heritage has to be made anew in each generation. The work of freedom is never done.
Democracy is something that you must learn each generation. It has to be taught.
We think it's important that America understand the strength it has in the arts as well as the sciences. We have to show the rest of the world that this is a civilization of great attainments and great accomplishments.
When Congress alters the federal balance, it must carefully consider the consequences of doing so.
In seeking rational explanations for irrational acts, an explanation becomes the excuse.
There's a time for debate and a time for consensus. There's a time for advocacy and time for first principles.
It's interesting that the more technologically advanced we become the more vulnerable our freedoms are. I just don't know quite what to do about that.
Why should world opinion care that the American Administration wants to bring freedom to oppressed peoples? Is that not because there’s some underlying common mutual interest, some underlying common shared idea, some underlying common shared aspiration, underlying unified concept of what human dignity means?
An activist court is a court that makes a decision you don't like.
Lawyers and judges have come to believe the basic principles of human rights are common to the peoples of world.
(Today is also the birthday of Raymond Chandler.)