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Bar News - October 7, 2005

Justice Souter Speaks on Judging at Kenison Portrait Event

In a rare break from his well-known reticence about making public speeches, US Supreme Court Associate Justice David Souter returned to his former courthouse to pay tribute to former Chief Justice Frank Rowe Kenison.

At a ceremony dedicating a new portrait of Chief Justice Kenison, Souter bolstered his reputation for storytelling and provided a personal reflection on two judicial role models who served on the court while Souter was a young lawyer—Kenison and his colleague, Associate Justice Lawrence Duncan. (Souter’s speech, transcribed from a recording of the speech, appears on page 8) Souter’s remarks, as expected, did not touch on any contemporary judicial topics.


The event, also attended by Gov. John Lynch, members of the Kenison family, and many public officials and members of the legal community and the bench, featured the unveiling of the life-size portrait of Kenison, painted by New Hampshire artist Richard Whitney, whose previous subjects include several NH governors and other national notables.


Attorney W. John Funk, who chaired the Kenison Legacy Committee and was a former law clerk to Kenison, thanked Chief Justice Broderick who had suggested that a portrait of Kenison should be placed in the Supreme Court building to commemorate his contributions to the court. The resulting fundraising effort, Funk reported, not only funded the commission for the portrait, but provided the start for the funding of a public education program to highlight the role of the judiciary in our society, the NH Supreme Court Historical Society.

Funk and attorney Mary Susan Leahy, who also served as a law clerk to Justice Kenison, both provided personal recollections of working for Kenison.

Other Speakers


Mary Susan Leahy, New Hampshire’s first woman court clerk, also spoke at the event. She clerked for Kenison during her first year.

Governor John Lynch talked about the importance of a high-quality judicial system in keeping alive a healthy and vibrant legal community.

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