William J. Brennan, Jr. Lecture
In the second annual William J. Brennan, Jr. Lecture New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Stewart G. Pollock explores the relationship between art and adjudication. The separation of powers, the federalist system, and the inherent constraints of the common law confine state courts. Notwithstanding those constraints, state courts have demonstrated creativity when interpreting state statutes and constitutions and when adapting the common law to changing conditions. Thus, Justice Pollock finds artistry in the work of state courts. He begins by exploring creativity in statutory interpretation. Then, Justice Pollock examines two areas of substantive law of great public concern: public-school-finance litigation under state constitutions and the common-law redefinition of the modem family. Justice Pollock demonstrates how state appellate courts, through public-school-finance litigation, have shaped the constitutional right to a public-school education. Justice Pollock then discusses how state courts have reacted to the changing composition of the American family. By recognizing these changes, state courts have redefined the family in areas as diverse as zoning ordinances, surrogacy agreements, and same-sex marriages. Common to all these endeavors is protection of the inherent dignity of the individual. Justice Pollock concludes that an appreciation of the similarities between art and judging may lead to a better understanding of the judicial process.