This event has been rescheduled from Sept. 14 and will be held Nov. 16 at 2 p.m.

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will be interviewed by financier-philanthropist David Rubenstein at a Nov. 16 inaugural event for the new Karsh Center for Law and Democracy at the University of Virginia School of Law.

“We are deeply honored that Justice Kennedy will launch our new Karsh Center for Law and Democracy,” Dean Risa Goluboff said. “We look forward to welcoming him back to the Law School and to learning from his longstanding efforts as an ambassador for democracy and the rule of law around the world.”

David Rubenstein
David Rubenstein

Kennedy will be joined for the conversation by Rubenstein, who will interview the jurist about his legacy on the court. The interview will be recorded for national broadcast on PBS stations, and will also air as a stand-alone episode of “The David Rubenstein Show,” a Bloomberg series focused on conversations about leadership.

Seating for the conversation, to be held 2 p.m. in Caplin Auditorium, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to members of the Law School community. The event will follow a clear-bag policy, and doors will open at 1:15 p.m. Recording and the use of electronic devices during the program is not permitted.

Kennedy announced his retirement at the end of the Supreme Court’s last term. Following a career in private practice and as a law professor, among other roles, he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1975. President Ronald Reagan nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Kennedy took his seat in 1988.

During his 30-year tenure, Kennedy, now 82, authored majority opinions in landmark cases involving the death penalty (Roper v. Simmons), campaign spending (Citizens United v. FEC), gay marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges), religious liberty (Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah), affirmative action (Fisher v. University of Texas), and the right of habeas corpus for prisoners detained during the “war on terror” (Boumediene v. Bush), among others.

In 2003, Kennedy visited the Law School to receive the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law; the medals are the University’s highest external honor.

David Rubenstein is a co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. He is chairman of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, chairman of the Smithsonian Institution and president of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. Also a lawyer, Rubenstein is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and Duke University.

The Karsh Center for Law and Democracy, funded through the generosity of law alumni Martha Lubin Karsh ’81 and Bruce Karsh ’80, aims to facilitate discussion about some of today’s most pressing issues through talks, interdisciplinary programming and symposia.

The Law School created the center to foster respect for the rule of law, civic engagement, civil discourse, the ideals of a plural society, and the values of truth, integrity and ethics.

The center is funded as part of a $44 million gift from the Karshes, the largest donation in Law School history. The Karshes are educational philanthropists who met at UVA Law. They announced the gift in May.

“Education is the foundation of a healthy, thriving democracy,” the couple said in a joint statement announcing the gift. “We want to empower students to pursue their goals as knowledgeable, engaged citizens, and we want democratic principles to flourish for the good of society. The University of Virginia, established by one of our most respected Founding Fathers and devoted as it is to honor and truth, makes it the perfect place to do both.”

Shortly after graduating from UVA Law, Bruce Karsh clerked for Kennedy, who was then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Professor Micah J. Schwartzman ’05, the center’s director, said he expects the Kennedy conversation to be the first in a series of sponsored discussions.

“We are very grateful to Justice Kennedy for joining in our inaugural event,” Schwartzman said. “This will be the beginning of many conversations we hope to have in the months and years ahead.”

In addition to teaching classes in constitutional law and the First Amendment, Schwartzman’s areas of scholarly interest include religion, jurisprudence and political philosophy. He currently serves as the Joseph W. Dorn Research Professor of Law, and is co-author of the books “The Rise of Corporate Religious Liberty” and the forthcoming “Constitutional Law and Religion.”

In the spring, the Karsh Center will host the “May Gathering,” a symposium focused on the rise of social and political movements within the legal academy and their influence in shaping American legal institutions.

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