Kathryn M. Stanchi Publishes Chapter in New Book about Justice Kennedy's Jurisprudence

Kathryn M. Stanchi, E.L. Cord Professor of Law
Kathryn M. Stanchi, E.L. Cord Professor of Law

Professor Kathryn M. Stanchi, E.L. Cord Professor of Law, was recently amongst an incredibly diverse group of rhetoric scholars in a new book: The Rhetoric of Judging Well: The Conflicted Legacy of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. She was invited to participate as an author because her work and writing overlap in the areas of rhetoric and feminist legal theory. Professor Stanchi says, "The editors wanted someone to comment on Justice Kennedy's jurisprudence as it relates to women and women's rights."

Interested in feminism since she was a teenager, Professor Stanchi grew up when entering education and law wasn't easy for women. She says she has always loved rhetoric and writing, and when she became a law professor, Professor Stanchi intensely studied the impact of what we say and why. "Why do we use some words other than others? Much of my scholarship centers on the impact—of both our words and our writing—on other people."

The book was put together by David A. Frank and Francis J. Mootz III, the latter of whom is no stranger to Boyd Law School as former associate dean and professor. "The editors pulled together an outstanding team across many concentrations: lawyers, true rhetoric scholars, and PhDs in linguistics and language. I learned so much from all the participants," shares Professor Stanchi. She also mentions that Francis Mootz is working on a project about Dobbs v. Jackson, the case that overturned Roe. V. Wade, with which she would welcome the opportunity to collaborate. 

In addition to recently publishing The Rhetoric of Racism in the United States Supreme Court in 2021, Professor Stanchi is finalizing a rhetorical analysis of Commonwealth v Berkowitz, one of the most widely taught cases in American criminal law. She says, "Sometimes the heavy emphasis on doctrine and rules in law overshadows the rhetoric of what we think about important topics like rape. So, I wanted to analyze how those involved with Berkowitz went about writing about and describing the case." Professor Stanchi reviewed all the trial transcripts of this case; an essential outcome of her analysis centers around how the rhetoric of the Court's retelling of the alleged rape created certain impressions of the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator, impressions that might not be true, accurate or fair. Professor Stanchi's work is currently in the peer-review process.