Slate's Dalia Lithwick reports that Justice Kennedy brought the crowd to its feet in an appearance at the ABA conference in Hawaii, where he urged lawyers to "link rule of law with real progress in improving the condition of human kind." For Justice Kennedy, Lithwick inferred, "justice has a purpose." He described the American conception of law as a "liberating force, a covenant, a promise" that permits us to "hope," "dream," dare," "plan," and have joy in existence.
Some conservatives, apparently not moved by the charge of convincing a "a doubting world" of the "essentiality of the rule of law," chalked the speech up to a "pompous sort of faux-intellectual jackassery." We, however, are inclined to agree with Justice Kennedy that the rule of law can lead to "real progress in improving the condition of human kind."