New York University President John Sexton today bestowed an honorary doctorate on Anthony Kennedy, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, at NYU’s 174th Commencement Exercises in Washington Square Park. Some 19,000 graduates, faculty, staff, and guests attended the morning ceremony.

The following citation was read in conferring the Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, on Anthony Kennedy:

Anthony M. Kennedy-confirmed as associate justice of the United States Supreme Court by a unanimous vote of the Senate in 1988, you have emerged as a pivotal figure in a deeply divided court grappling with the momentous issues of the day. Your significant opinions in landmark decisions have embraced the rights of personal freedom and the importance of self-government and democracy, including in the states and local governments of the United States. Active in our own nation’s bar associations, you engage with scholars around the world as a leading figure in international law. Your path to the highest Court led from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where, at age thirty-eight, you were appointed the youngest federal appeals judge in the country. A teacher at heart with a passion for ideas, you have graciously and often participated in colloquia at our own School of Law. Through the “Dialogue on Freedom” initiative of the American Bar Association, you have reached out to high school students and fostered dialogue about American values and civic traditions. Your emphasis on the importance of civility in public life, in an age marked by divisive partisanship, and your insistence on the dignity of all individuals, have been hallmarks of your jurisprudence.

Anthony M. Kennedy-your openness of mind has attracted adherents to your opinions even as your utter lack of pretentiousness has earned you the esteem of your clerks. By virtue of the authority vested in me by New York University, I am pleased to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.”

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