Bernard E. Witkin Medal

About the 2015 recipient

Carlos MorenoThe 2015 recipient of the Bernard E. Witkin Medal is U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a California native and graduate of Stanford University.

Kennedy is recognized for his integral role in the most high-profile case of the previous term: Obergefell v. Hodges. In an opinion written by Kennedy, the court ruled 5-4 that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment. The landmark case has been compared to the historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision desegregating public schools.

A native son of California, Kennedy was born in Sacramento in 1936. He later earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford and the London School of Economics and a law degree from Harvard. He was in private practice in San Francisco from 1961 to 1963, and in Sacramento from 1963 to 1975. From 1965 to 1988, he was a professor of constitutional law at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. He has since continued to teach at the school’s Salzburg, Austria summer program, and he remains the school’s longest-serving active faculty member.

Kennedy was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th circuit in 1975. President Ronald Reagan nominated Kennedy to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the justice began his term in 1988.

About the Bernard E. Witkin Medal

The Witkin medal is named for the preeminent legal scholar and writer Bernard E. Witkin, who was its first recipient in 1993. It is awarded annually to a member of the legal community who has helped shape the legal landscape through an extraordinary body of work.

Past recipients

2014 Erwin Chemerinsky
Justice Carlos Moreno (Ret.)
2012 Jesse H. Choper
2011 Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein
2010 Beth Jay
2009 Justice Cruz Reynoso (Ret.)
2008 John Van de Kamp
2007 Judge Alex Kozinski
2006 Justice Elwood Lui (Ret.)
2005 Chief Justice Ron George
2004 Judge Thelton Eugene Henderson
2003 Robert D. Raven
2002 Seth and Shirley Hufstedler (joint recipients)
2001 Justice Norman L. Epstein
2000 Judge Dorothy Wright Nelson
1999 Joseph A. Ball, Esq.
1998 Justice Stanley Mosk
1997 Justice Bernard S. Jefferson
1996 William A. Rutter, Esq.
1995 Professor Gerald Gunther
1994 Justice Raymond L. Sullivan
1993 Bernard E. Witkin