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Harry A. Blackmun


Mr. President, I have the extreme honor of presenting the Honorable Mr. Justice Harry A. Blackmun, lawyer, law professor, intellectual, former counsel to the Mayo Clinic, former judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and currently Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Justice Blackmun, as you approach retirement, you have always been a person of great courage and of the highest moral convictions. Your brilliant legal opinions have always stressed the human aspects of the law, and you have never refrained from offering controversial opinions which you felt were right and just. The nation will certainly miss your keen understanding of justice and of the obligations of a civilized society.

Mr. Justice Blackmun, throughout your long and esteemed career, you have never treated the law as a mere theoretical construct, but have always been deeply concerned with how the law affects the daily lives of ordinary persons. You have been a champion of women’s rights, a champion of privacy rights, and a champion of protecting individuals from unwarranted governmental intrusion. In many ways you have served as the conscience of the nation. Your dedication to the ideals of American democracy will be remembered long after you return to the much deserved life of a private citizen. We thank you for your service to our country.

Mr. President, on behalf of the trustees, faculty, students, and staff of Clark University, I request that the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, be conferred upon the Honorable Mr. Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

Justice Harry Blackmun
Judge Blackmun, Richard P. Traina, Gwen Bell, and Paul Tsongas at 1994 Commencement.