Alameda County
Bar Association

Justice Kennedy on the Power of the Constitution 
Justice Kennedy

From the CEO

Today I attended the Civic Learning California Summit 2.0 in Sacramento featuring remarks from Justice Anthony Kennedy.  His thoughts on our Constitution were particularly powerful. I’ve paraphrased below.

He said that it’s the Constitution that gives us our authenticity and identity as Americans that binds us all together.  We revere the Constitution, but it must have meaning in our own time, and to do that, we must consciously teach our children about our rich heritage of freedom.  It is not just the duty of the President “preserve, protect, defend,” nor is it just the Courts.  The Constitution is yours.  You cannot preserve, or defend without a conscious act.  You cannot preserve what you cannot transmit. Cannot protect what you do not understand.  Cannot defend what you do not know.

Are you concerned about defending the Constitution, the rule of law, and protecting civil rights under the new administration? We have created a resource webpage on the ACBA website that we will update with trainings, relevant articles, events, volunteer opportunities, and calls-to-action as they come in.

While we may not all agree politically, we all stand for the power of the law, and the power of the Rule of Law.


Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Anthony Rendon

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Tiela Chalmers is the CEO and General Counsel of the Alameda County Bar Association the Volunteer Legal Services Corporation. Tiela has been a consultant in the fields of legal services and pro bono, handling projects including coordinating the Shriver Housing Project in Los Angeles, the largest of the “civil Gideon” pilot projects in California, and working with the ABA and a national working group on updating the Pro Bono Standards. Previously the Executive Director of Volunteer Legal Services Program in San Francisco, Tiela worked at VLSP for many years with Tanya Neiman until her death. Prior to VLSP, Tiela was an attorney at Farella, Braun + Martel in San Francisco.