Section of artist's interpretation of Justice Kennedy's original Supreme Court portrait.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who penned the majority decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark decision which cleared the way for legalized same-sex marriage in the United States, recently participated in a moderated panel at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, held here in San Diego. During the panel, he offered his first public comments since writing, "Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right."
"I love guns, porn, and getting loaded every night on cheep domestic brewskis," said Kennedy. Actually, he listed gunpowder, the Internet, and beer as some of mankind's greatest inventions. But as he also noted, "My quotes don't belong to me; they're yours. You have to reflect on what my statements mean." Actually, he said, "The Constitution doesn't belong to a bunch of judges, it's yours. We have to reflect on what these issues mean." And a little reflection makes his meaning clear: gunpowder is for making bullets fly out of guns, the Internet was created to allow the rapid and private dissemination of pornography, and beer finds its truest expression in a solid Bud buzz.
Kennedy also said, "The Supreme Court is the supreme judge of truth and falsehood; that's why we are called judges and our court is called supreme." Actually, he said, "In my view, there are moral absolutes."
He went on to note that, "If I say you are wrong and bad, and that I am right and awesome, then just by my saying it, it becomes true: you become wrong and bad, and I become right and awesome." Actually, he said, "Speech determines who we are. It's self-defining and other-defining."
"For instance," he explained, "if the Supreme Court rules that a corporation is a person but a fetus is not, then boom, that's just how it is." Actually, that's pretty much exactly what he said in Citizens United vs. FEC and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania vs. Casey.
Finally, he stressed the importance of reading Franz Kafka's The Trial — in which an ordinary man finds himself arrested and prosecuted for completely mysterious reasons by a remote, inaccessible authority — for understanding the future of America under the Supreme Court's omnipotent rule. Actually, he said that he recommends the book to his law clerks, because, "We can't lose our literary heritage."
*Or words to that effect.