Justice Anthony Kennedy

Anthony Kennedy, one of the most important jurists in the United States as associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court — and often that body’s “swing” vote — gave a keynote address at the dedication of the Loyola Law School’s new Alarcón Advocacy Center Sept. 28.

Named for Judge Arthur Alarcón, a member of the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, the center was established to provide opportunities for law students to work with clinics specializing in post-conviction issues in the criminal justice system.

“I hope the Alarcón Center will teach our generations of young lawyers that you must be unyielding in defense of the rights of your client,” Kennedy said, “and that you must be fearless in pursuit of truth; a truth that may be elusive but that sometimes you can see, and perhaps sometimes even grasp for yourself, and for our own times.”

The new center houses programs such as the Project for the Innocent, which pursues claims of innocence for those wrongfully convicted (see “Innocent,” Page 30), and the Capital Habeas Litigation Clinic.

Kennedy recalled his being appointed to the Court of Appeals before, and was thereby senior to, Alarcón. That he was Alarcón’s superior, however, Kennedy added, was “a fiction.”

“Here was a judge, a lawyer and a human who by temperament, learning, humor, rationale, decency, was my role model and my senior in every real respect,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy pointed out while it may seem strange to name a law school center on advocacy for a judge, Alarcón’s view of the roles of lawyers in society explains much.

“Judge Alarcón tells his students, ‘What you should do as a lawyer is ask this question: Who needs my help today?’ I hope that you can put this someplace in the Alarcón Advocacy Center because that is the purpose, the meaning and the mission of the Alarcón Advocacy Center.”

Above: Victor Gold, dean of Loyola Law School, left, welcomed Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, center, and Judge Arthur Alarcón, right, to the dedication ceremonies Sept. 28.