Deconstructing Kennedy's Legal Legacy

by Vault Law Editors | August 26, 2009

  • My Vault

RIP to the Senate's Liberal Lion, who, as you surely know by now, succumbed to the effects of brain cancer Tuesday night in Hyannis Port (where else?). Senator Kennedy's death came as no surprise—the Paper of Record had an extensive multimedia obituary package up before the Globe even reported the early-morning announcement.

The mainstream press today devoted gallons of (virtual) ink extolling Kennedy's achievements as a politician and a policymaker while revisiting his impressive roster of personal shortcomings—reflection here, here and here. Somewhat lost in the scramble to summarize Kennedy’s five decades on the Hill and to analyze the historical importance of The Last Brother’s death, however, was a focused examination of the mark Kennedy left on the law. The day’s wonkier articles, all worth a read (though there is the predictable overlap): 

• The National Law Journal’s Marcia Coyle reflects on “Ted Kennedy’s Legal Legacy”
• Ohio State law professor Douglas Berman and readers spitball Teddy’s hand in the evolution of sentencing reform
• The Globe analyzes Kennedy’s thick portfolio of policy work, highlighted by a detailed overview of his trademark issue: health care
• The bespectacled trio over at Power Line rail against Kennedy’s famous decimation of Robert Bork’s High Court candidacy, connecting the speech to Justice Souter’s nomination three years thereafter

Regardless of your politics, there’s no disputing the fact that few people had as deep or lasting an impact on the formation of American law over the past half-century. Happy trails, Ted.

 

- posted by ben fuchs

Filed Under: Law

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