McGeorge School of Law

Kennedy's Surprise Visit Thrills Constitutional Law Students

September 7, 2012

Justice Anthony Kennedy

Holding Court: Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States talks to students and Professors Leslie Jacobs, center, and Brian Landsberg, right, after teaching a Constitutional Law class on campus.

Second-year students in two Constitutional Law classes knew something was up when they were asked to meet as one unit in a bigger classroom on Sept. 4. But it was still a pleasant surprise when Justice Anthony Kennedy walked in to teach the class.

Dean Francis J. Mootz III introduced the Supreme Court justice, a long-time member of McGeorge's faculty, and Kennedy engaged the students in an hour-long discussion of the Constitution's origins, structure and rights.

His hypotheticals, some involving recent high court cases, provoked a lively give-and-take between the students and the Sacramento native. Kennedy taught Constitutional Law to Evening Division classes at McGeorge from 1965-1988 when he joined the Supreme Court. He also taught Fundamental Rights in Europe and the United States at the law school's summer program in Salzburg, Austria, from 1988-2011.

Kennedy thanked Professors Leslie Jacobs and Brian Landsberg for turning over their lecture time to him. After class, he stayed on to talk to students for a half hour then met with other members of the faculty later in the day.

"I know that Justice Kennedy pays at least one visit to our campus every year, but it's always a thrill for the students to see and interact with him," Dean Mootz said.