YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The Nation

Justice Urges Lawyers to Act Globally

June 13, 2004|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said Saturday that America's security hinges on "the acceptance of the idea of freedom," and urged lawyers to promote democracy internationally.

"It's an imperative of our moral security," Kennedy said in a speech at an American Bar Assn. ceremony dedicating the group's new headquarters in downtown Chicago.

"We cannot fall behind in this struggle over ideas," said Kennedy, who has been on the Supreme Court since 1988. "There is a very important part for the legal profession, for the American lawyer, and for this association to play in that struggle."

Kennedy praised the work the American Bar Assn. has done to spread the idea of democracy in other countries, but suggested the group "find ways to increase the resources you devote to this by at least tenfold."

The organization spends about $20 million a year in international rule of law initiatives, spokeswoman Gail Alexander-Wise said.

Kennedy, 67, said that he had met recently in Europe with senior Iraqi judges who told him that the U.S.-led coalition had allowed them to "bring the rule of law to Iraq," after decades under the regime of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"The courts in Iraq are functioning, they're issuing judgments," Kennedy said.

"There are 22 law schools in Iraq that meet every day with full classes. So the substructure is there, the infrastructure is there."

Kennedy is one of three justices who were appointed to the nation's highest court by the late President Reagan. The others are Sandra Day O'Connor and Antonin Scalia.

Los Angeles Times Articles